A United Kingdom, Film Review. Picturehouse@F.A.CT., Liverpool.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10

Cast: David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Jack Davenport, Tom Felton, Nicholas Lyndhurst, Laura Carmichael, Jessica Oyelowo, Terri Pheto, Vusi Kunene, Arnold Oceng, Anastasia Hille, Charlotte Hope, Theo Landey, Jack Lowden, Zackary Momoh.

History is made by breaking rules, by defying Government and putting your love for someone above the expected doctrines of faceless mandarins and cowards who will not stand up to racism and prejudice, to intolerance, lies and hate. Love and honour is the catalyst that topples Government and empire and perhaps none more so in recent times than the love between Seretse Khama, the King in waiting of his homeland in Africa and Ruth Williams, the daughter of a former World War Two soldier and somebody who has been tainted by thought of what is supposedly right and proper when it comes to marriages of mixed heritage.

A United Kingdom is the true story of a love that ultimately brought democracy and independence to what is now known as Botswana, a remarkable tale that for some reason doesn’t get taught in the halls of British schools, that perhaps should be seen more than the backdrop to a country taking its rightful equal place in the world and more to show, to suggest that empires never last, that imposed direct rule is nothing more than the actions of the bully in a slightly bigger playground; especially when it is the cover to be underhand in the acquisition of that country’s mineral wealth.

A United Kingdom, like the phenomenal Selma before it, is a film that really brings out the very finest work from David Oyelowo, a part in which he distinguishes himself in such a way that he truly has made a name as one of the country’s finest actors. The passion he brings to the screen is extenuated by Rosamund Pike as his wife Ruth Williams, both actors let slip the bonds of the past and bring a vitality, a sense of enormous delivered promise to the screen and with Jack Davenport portraying the nasty side of British colonialism to its most despicable, most hated point of its existence, the film is shaped and given unrestricted growth that makes the issue of empires an even more distasteful subject to ever consider with anything but repulsion.

A wonderfully shot film, a gift to history and one that should be seen for its enormity in the way it took down the British Empire a peg or two.

Ian D. Hall