Wednesday, 27 August 2008
No.46 : White Mischief
IMDb Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094317/
Greta Scacchi, or The Lovely Greta Scacchi to give her her full name, stars in this true story of infidelity and murder in 1940’s Kenya.
The film opens during the blitz in London as Greta tells Hugh Grant that’s she’s leaving his love for the money of Joss Ackland and the safety of Africa. Joss, although wealthy, is facing harder times and his lack of skill on the horses and his free spending new wife are unlikely to help matters.
In Kenya the time is spent wife and clothes swapping, a swinging circuit that Greta soon joins. She quickly falls for the dashing Charles Dance and despite warnings from Joss the pair carry on their scandalous affair. When Greta and Charles announce their plans to be together they get Joss’ blessing, but when Dance is gunned down by a mystery assassin Joss is in the frame.
After a trial Joss is acquitted, but the mystery of the murderer remains and, as his money problems mount, Greta has to weigh her options.
This is a great period film that I always enjoy, not least for Greta’s spirited performance. The African plains are beautifully shot and the evocations of the colonial era are great. The secondary cast is filled with familiar faces and it’s no surprise when Joss’ cattle all die seeing as he employed Rab C. Nesbitt as his farmer.
The mystery element is somewhat slight as we are in no doubt that Joss was the culprit despite some ambiguity employed during the murder. The fact we see him feigning drunkenness prior to the murder somewhat undoes the later revelation about the socks.
Greta gives a career best showing as the free spirited and needy Diana with her passions free for all to see. Towards the end it’s hard to figure her feelings for Joss and new suitor ,John Hurt, but this is a deliberate showing of her character’s uncertainty.
With great settings, acting and music you’ll do well to find a better portrayal of colonial Africa during the war, and seeing as Greta loses her clothes on a regular basis it’s hard to find fault.
Best Bit : Greta’s swimsuit malfunction
‘W’ Score 21/23