About Us

Contact Us


2001 Archives

Hacktreks Travel 2

First Chapters
World Travel
September Issue
October Issue
November Issue
December Issue
Feb 02 Issue
April 02 Issue
May 02 Issue
June02 Issue
July02 Issue
August 02 Issue
September 02

Directed by Shekhar Kapur

A Film Review by Alex Grant

An alternately spectacular and subdued seventh version of A.E.W. Mason’s The Four Feathers, Shekhar Kapur’s third film, after his vigorous virago panegyric The Bandit Queen (1994) and his transcendental Elizabeth (1998) is an honourable failure.

In striving to avoid the gung-ho ‘Gunga-din’ echoes of the 1939 version, director Kapur pussyfoots around the issues of colonialism and fanaticism in his portrayal of inflexibly patriotic stiff-upper-lip British Royal Cumbrian redcoats Vs wily opportunistic Muslim guerrillas. It is set in the Sudan at the time of the assassination of General Gordon in Khartoum. Films set in desert wastes commonly, like those set underwater, tend to move like lava, playing at a mere 33rpm when they should be revolving at 45rpm. Trudging through sand is laborious for the spectator and even more laborious when done on camel back. To witness such truculent trudgery is a chore.

The Four Feathers, despite subtle performances by Heath Ledger as the cowardly cavalry officer Harry Faversham and Wes Bentley as his heroic counterpart Jack Durrance, the rival for the hand of Harry’s fiancé Ethne Eustace (Kate Hudson), and in spite of workmanlike direction; the film proves to be a turgid plodding epic. It awkwardly combines several elements of the 1950’s and 1960’s roadshow epic movies, such as Lawrence of Arabia, Spartacus and Ben Hur. That is, the Christ-like protagonist is subjected to all manner of bodily and spiritual indignities in his quest for redemption. A cavalryman on his personal road to Calvary.

Four Feathers is slo-mo suffering amid the dunes without any contemporary relevance

© Alex Grant September 2002

More Reviews

< Back to Index
< Reply to this Article

© Hackwriters 2002