A college professor is sent into exile after a love affair with one of his students.
Tackling as ambiguous and unsympathetic, not to say brilliant, a novel as J. M. Coetzee’s Booker Prize-winning Disgrace is only for the foolhardy. But Steve Jacobs does it remarkable justice, partly for his dedication to the book’s uneasy portrayal of post-apartheid South Africa, but in the main because he cast John Malkovich. The actor’s unique presence, a form of reptilian grace, makes perfect sense of the poetry professor ‘disgraced’ after a manipulative affair with a student.
Holing up with his daughter (Jessica Haines) deep in the Veldt, a violent attack by locals will expose him to the festering notion of accountability that still afflicts his country. It’s the kind of unyielding complexity Oscar never fathoms.
Surprisingly successful adaptation of J. M. Coetzee's superb novel.
Reviewed by Ian Nathan