The Ghost and the Darkness

Tagline : Prey For The Hunters

Runtime : 109 mins

Genre : Adventure Action Thriller

Vote Rating : 6.8/10

Budget : 50 million $ USD

Revenue : 38.6 million $ USD

Plot : Sir Robert Beaumont is behind schedule on a railroad in Africa. Enlisting noted engineer John Henry Patterson to right the ship, Beaumont expects results. Everything seems great until the crew discovers the mutilated corpse of the project's foreman, seemingly killed by a lion. After several more attacks, Patterson calls in famed hunter Charles Remington, who has finally met his match in the bloodthirsty lions.

Cast Members


Oh, you're right. The devil has come to Tsavo. Look at me, I am the devil. The Ghost and the Darkness is directed by Stephen Hopkins and written by William Goldman. It stars Val Kilmer, Michael Douglas, Tom Wilkinson, John Kani, Bernard Hill, Brian McCardie and Emily Mortimer. Music is by Jerry Goldsmith and cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond. Tsavo, Kenya and a bridge engineer teams up with an experienced professional hunter to hunt for two lions that have been attacking local construction workers. As is often the case, one should seek out the real stories that are involved in this retelling of the real instances involving the Tsavo Lions The story itself is awash with mysticism, the lions (Ghost and Darkness) act as some sort of supernatural beings, who we are told are offing the native folk purely for pleasure. There's an odd juxtaposition with this, in that in the midst of colonialism and macho posturing, the hunters of felines are forgivable because they are defenders of mankind - even though we know that man hunts the great feline beasts for fun regardless of this particular situation. Various stereotypes fil out the screenplay, though not as to be insulting, but you feel that the pic as first envisaged would have had more to say on political frontage and period turmoil. It basically all ends up as a creature feature, two great white hunters facing town the monstrous enemy as their very lives become perilous by the hour. The attack sequences are nicely staged, wonderfully primal in fact, ensuring that what the pic lacks in intelligent narrative worth it makes up for with thrills and genuine nervy suspense. So with Zsigmond providing some lovely African postcard lensing, and Goldsmith adding music that powerfully bounces around the locales, the tech credits are ensuring our eyes and ears are suitably stoked. One key character's story arc is stupidly given short shrift, annoyingly so and coming off like someone ran out of time to either write or perform something else, and the uneven feel to it all tends to gnaw away at the enjoyment factor. Yet in spite of the flaws and unfulfilled promise there's a nice old fashioned feel to it, something that seems to have engaged the movie loving public more than it does the pro critics. Interesting that. 6.5/10

I loved this movie when I got to see it when it was first released. Based on a true story (in fact the only part that was made up for is the lions' den scene), this movie breathes Africa due to the incredible cinematography of Vilmos Zsigmond. Africa is as bright and as amazing in this film as it is in person. There is no CGI, only real, trained lions and real effects. Set during the European colonialisation of Africa, we focus on the British need to complete a railway bridge across a small river which is complicated by 2 lions who seem to hunt for fun, not just food. Even now, 25 years after it was made I still love this movie. And even knowing its plot by heart, I still clench a little and hold my breath a bit - the tension during the climatic scenes is that good. All of the leads give good performances, but Michael Douglas is the stand out with his grizzled big-game hunter persona mixed with the "action-man" persona that he honed in his 1980s films like Romancing the Stone. The only part that falls short is the underwhelming score by Goldsmith which just reeks of missed opportunities - there is no real leitmotifs or even hints of adventure or Africa. But that aside, this is a great movie looking into an incredible story in one of lesser known parts of the massive African continent. This is a movie who's story stays with you, much like Africa itself does. I love this movie.

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