BOPHA! does not wear its good intentions lightly. A family drama set in South Africa, actor Morgan Freeman's directing debut is a classical tragedy fashioned from (relatively) current political issues: apartheid, self-determination, and the legacy of colonialism. Set in 1980, in the
fictitious Moroka township, BOPHA! revolves around the Mangena family. Patriarch Micah (Danny Glover) is a senior policeman who has never questioned the system he serves. He expects his son, Zweli (Maynard Eziashi), to follow in his footsteps, but the younger man is convinced that only revolution
can bring much needed change to the townships, where poverty and unemployment are rampant. Micah's wife, Rosie, who conceals her strength and intelligence beneath a nurturing exterior, knows her son and her husband are headed for a painful confrontation. The spark is provided by De Villiers
(Malcolm McDowell), the sadistic Special Branch officer sent to help keep peace in the township; his rigid methods soon create precisely the tumult he was charged with avoiding.
BOPHA! is deeply sincere, angry and politically correct. At two hours, however, the film seems much longer, perhaps because anyone with the most cursory awareness of South African politics knows exactly where BOPHA! is going. Anyone who doesn't (and is still watching), will be tipped off by the
schematic story structure. BOPHA!'s intentions are all good, but it preaches (and that is the operative word) to the converted.
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