Mister Johnson

After the neocolonialist nostalgia of Driving Miss Daisy, some outright colonialist nostalgia from the same director, Bruce Beresford, albeit tempered by ambiguity and irony in the depiction of the title hero (Maynard Eziashi)the West African clerk of a British district officer (Pierce Brosnan). An Anglophile and con artist, Johnson is called upon to help organize the building of a road linking north and south Nigeria. Adapted from the Joyce Cary novel by William Boyd, this is a project that John Huston tinkered with before his death, and there are times when you suspect it could have wound up in the James Ivory canon as well. Polished, rather dull, and somewhat sentimental in its efforts to catch the noble pathos of a duplicitous yes-man who goes to his grave praising his white masters, it’s a bit too tasteful for its own good, although Eziashi and the other actorsincluding Edward Woodward, Femi Fatoba, Bella Enahoro, and Beatie Edneydo their best with the material. (JR)

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