'The Power of One'
(Stephen Dorff, John Gielgud, Morgan Freeman, et al / DVD / PG-13 / (1992) 2016 / 20th Century Fox)
Overview: 'The Power of One' is an intriguing story of a young English boy named Peekay and his passion for changing the world. Growing up he suffered as the only English boy in an Afrikaans school.
DVD Verdict: It's 1930 and Peekay is born 3 weeks after the death of his father. His mother struggles to maintain the farm. The penniless English boy is sent to an Afrikaans school. As the only English in school, he is brutally bullied by the Nazi loving Afrikaan boys. His mother dies and he is befriended by his grandfather's friend German exile Professor von Vollensteen 'Doc' (Armin Mueller-Stahl).
When war breaks out, Doc is arrested as an illegal German despite the fact that the Nazis have killed all of his family. While spending most of his days in prison with Doc, he is taught boxing by Geel Piet (Morgan Freeman) and witnesses the cruelty against the prisoners. Geel Piet calls him the Rainmaker, the prophesied one who brings unity to all of the tribes. After the war, Doc goes home to Germany. Peekay (Stephen Dorff) goes to an English private school run by headmaster St. John (John Gielgud) where he falls for Maria whose father Professor Daniel Marais is a leading politician of the Nationalist Party of South Africa.
Director John G. Avildsen does a reasonable job. The first half is a great movie. Peekay as a kid in the school and in prison is very compelling. I like the narration which gives it a feel of a fable. The prison actually makes Peekay a myth. The second half loses some of that sense. The second half is complicated by a romance and an unnecessary return of a character from the school.
The combination makes the movie smaller while trying to take on such big issues. The boxing scenes aren't the best either. There are some of the best actors of all times at work here. Daniel Craig makes his debut. It's set up for it to be a great movie but turns into something less. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.