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(Review originally written at 20 March 2007)

...Well according to Hollywood anyway, since "The Ghost and the Darkness" actually takes lots of liberties with its story, about the two man-eating lions of Tsavo. Quite odd since it presses in the beginning that everything you're about to see in this movie, no matter how unbelievable it seems, has truly occurred. Oh well, just a good and clever marketing trick, lets leave it to that. No way they can pull off a trick like this now days in the days of Internet, were with only a few clicks you can look up an historical event. Of course the biggest difference between the truth and fiction is the Remington (Michael Douglas) character, who never existed in real life and also the looks of the lions, who in real life were not maned. But oh well, are these movie changes bad or not believable? No, it strengthens the story and makes it all even more interesting to watch.

I've always loved watching "The Ghost and the Darkness". It's a great adventurous movie with action in it and some good characters, all set in a beautiful environment.

The story is perfectly adventurous and action filled. It's all the more amazing knowing that the story has actually occurred in real life, over an hundred years ago already. The movie and its story is kept simple and allows its images and characters to tell the story.

What I like about the movie is that it fully treats the 'Ghost' and the 'Darkness' (the nicknames of the two man-eating lions) as movie characters. It shows them as smart thinking creatures and not simply just as 'monsters', even though they kill for pleasure (at least in the movie they do).

The movie is definitely helped by its environment and atmosphere. The beautiful African land serves as a perfect backdrop for the movie and also works quite claustrophobic, since the movie is for most part set at just this one location (the railroad and bridge building-site). Also the great Jerry Goldsmith musical score suits the environment and perfectly adds to the atmosphere of the entire movie, as does the cinematography from Vilmos Zsigmond.

Michael Douglas plays a good role and actually shows with this movie how versatile he is as an actor, though his role is definitely smaller than he is credited for in the movie. As also the producer of this movie he obviously claimed to become the top-billing actor of the movie as well. In fact the main part of the movie is being played by Val Kilmer, who plays his character in a way like we're used of him; a humble way and he doesn't try too hard to impress in his role, which also leaves room for the other actors to shine and of course allows the story to be told best. Surprising to see that the movie also had actors in it, that would later turn into big well known names such as Bernard Hill and Tom Wilkinson, in some good roles. Also Om Puri gives a nice performance.

A perfectly fun and simple adventurous action movie. This is high quality entertainment.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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