Below is the trailer for Endgame, directed by Pete Travis (Vantage Point). It takes place in South Africa in 1985, when apartheid was trying to desperately keep its grip on the country and President P.W. Botha declared a state of emergency, effectively tightening the already brutally harsh white supremacist laws (incidentally, this was also the year that my parents finally made it out of the country and brought me and my sister to the U.S.). Featuring some outstanding actors playing some of the pivotal roles of the time’s political figures (many of whom would go on to play even more integral parts in the country’s continually difficult future), it looks absolutely riveting. The official plot synopsis is as follows:
While the country is under siege, sanctions are biting, Mandela’s imprisonment is an international cause celebré, and the ANC guerrilla terrorist attacks are escalating. Working for P.W. Botha as a somewhat Machiavellian Head of Intelligence, Dr. Neil Barnard opens furtive talks with imprisoned Nelson Mandela. But lesser known are the secret talks that take place in the unlikely setting of a rural English manor house, arranged by a British businessman and sponsored by a mining company. The stakes are immense, the secrecy imperative. Botha learns of the UK talks and if the demise of apartheid is inevitable he intends to control the endgame by employing the tactics of divide and rule. Against all the odds, through volatile discussion, intrigue, and breakthroughs, the unimaginable is achieved - a precious arena of frail trust between the two warring parties.(h/t to Movie-List)
The cast is top-notch — Chiwetel Ejiofor as ANC radical (and future South African President) Thabo Mbeki, Mark Strong as Barnard, Clarke Peters (Lester Freamon in “The Wire”) as Nelson Mandela, as well as William Hurt, Johnny Lee Miller and Derek Jacobi (all of whom appear to have done an outstanding job with the difficult South African accent). It delves deeper into the political machinations that would eventually bring down Apartheid than many films have. It will likely also be something of a heartbreaker, because a) pretty much any film about Apartheid-era South Africa almost has to be, and b) despite all of the advancements and change, South Africa is still a deeply troubled country. Regardless, it’s made it to the top of my list for this year.