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February 25th, 2015 Movie – The Ghost And The Darkness

the ghost and the darkness

Well the winter storm that they have been expecting all week had finally started to hit Atlanta, although I will admit that it is not as bad as they were expecting here. Still there is no telling what the rest of the afternoon and night will bring so might as well enjoy the snow while it lasts. Today’s movie has absolutely nothing to do with snow. In fact, it is about as far removed from snow as you can probably get. What this movie is about is one of the most infamous cases of animal attacks in the last century, well I guess two centuries since this occurred in 1898. I present to you today’s movie, The Ghost And The Darkness.

The plot: When a British railroad project in Tsavo falls behind schedule, Lt. Col. John Henry Patterson is sent to Africa to build a bridge across the river so the railroad can get back on track. Upon his arrival to Tsavo, Patterson meets the supervisors and doctor at the camp and after hearing of a recent lion attack so he sets an ambush and manages to kill the lion with a single shot, earning the respect of the workers. Work continues on the bridge and the project is getting back on schedule when one of the foremen is attacked by a lion. The next night Patterson tries setting another ambush but another worker is killed at the opposite end of the camp. A few days later, the lion attacks a worker in the daylight but when Patterson tries to shoot it, a second lion leaps down from the roof of a nearby building, killing Patterson’s aide Angus Starling. The company financing the railroad hire experienced hunter Charles Remington to kill the lions. After two failed attempts by Remington and Patterson to kill the lions, Patterson tries a new idea for a trap and they manage to kill one of the lions. The remaining lion kills Remington later that night but Patterson finally manages to kill it, and bring the nightmare to an end.

The Ghost And The Darkness was based on the real life events surrounding the building of the Tsavo Bridge in 1898 where 2 lions killed a large number of workers during a 10 month period before they were killed. It received mixed reviews from the critics, earning a 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Roger Ebert actually said that it ” was an African adventure that makes the Tarzan movies look subtle and realistic.” The audiences didn’t seem to mind as it would earn over $75 million dollars in the box office. It also managed to win the Academy Award for Best Sound Editing, but it also received a Razzie nomination for Worst Supporting Actor for Val Kilmer.

I like this movie for a number of reasons, two of them being that it is a killer animal movie (one of my favorite genres) and that it is based on actual events. Val Kilmer wasn’t completely terrible in this movie but the fact that he could not keep his accent consistent was really annoying. Michael Douglas was great and very entertaining with his character. The scenes with the lions were actually pretty impressive, especially when you consider that every scene but one used real lions. Now this obviously wasn’t 100% historically accurate and I never expected it to be. But it was still entertaining and I thought it was worth watching.

An entertaining movie about an actual event and worth a watch if you get the chance.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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