The Ghost and The Darkness

Claudio Oswald Niedworok, Author, Actor, Narrator, Visual/Graphic Artist, Recording Artist, Performance Artist, Poet, Monologuist

Hello, dear readership. I hereby commit my pen and narrative, rather retroactively, to reviewing a film that merits the introduction of this new project launch and represents what I look for in story, theme, and on film in exemplary fashion. I give you ~

The Ghost And The Darkness

Set in the East Africa of 1896 it is the true story of two man-eating lions on a rampage in a place historically named for slaughter, Tsavo. Knowing the heart of the African terrain as I do (due to a most amazing, and very dangerous, childhood spent in that primitive realm) I can attest to the strangest and most mystical, unexplainable elements as being more the norm on that impassioned continent than any domesticated normalcy ever was. So when I say that these uncanny carnivores were as much the spirit of nature against the will of man as they were beasts of prey you can believe me ~ and watching the film will easily explain the rest of what I mean. The cinematography is exquisite inasmuch as it is truly a nightmare made real again out of the pages of history itself. The original author is John Henry Patterson "The Man-Eaters of Tsavo" (whom Val Kilmer so capably portrays) and it was written for the screen by William Goldman. It is also a Douglas/Reuther production and features Michael Douglas in more of a cameo role and Val Kilmer in the lead with some real salt and pepper to the eyes and senses brought on by the inimitable Tom Wilkinson. Directed by Stephen Hopkins with Vilmos Zsigmond, a.s.c. as Director of Photography. As true a gift to this work of art overall is the African actor/narrator John Kani whose graceful presence is as keenly felt and appreciated on screen and in voice alone.

THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS is pitch perfect in its entertainment and educational values and it is truly an inspired craft overall. What I personally find so haunting is how well, and skillfully, the story itself is crafted and how it remains the true star of the show from first frame to the last. Sadly this element of art in its purest form is too frequently yielded to the big name actors of stage and screen and, as such, often dreadfully misplaced. It is as graphically violent and intensely beautiful and poetic as the geography, history and location, would have it be. Be well prepared for this and fasten your seat belts, roll up your windows, and join me on this deadly tour where the tall wheat grasses that surround you are the same colour as a lion's mane...and where the predators await and killing is more for bloodlust than for appetite. To me it is nature defying the encroachments of man and nothing less. It is an astounding and disturbing tribute to the power of truth being stranger than fiction. I suggest you resist looking under the covers tonight.

Cheers!

  –Claudio Oswald Niedworok

The Ghost and The Darkness book review