Something of Value

DirectorMartin Brookes
StarringRock Hudson
Sydney Poitier

Something of Value is a film based on the Mau Mau rising of the early '50s. Although a hollywood production, the film does prove to be surprisingly insiteful and interesting. The film follows the story of two friends brought up together despite their different racial origins. As they mature into adulthood, the ramifications of their different skin colour forces them to follow different paths in their native Kenya. One joins the Mau Mau whilst the other joins the security forces fighting them. However, of more interest than the plot is the depiction of both blacks and whites defending what they regard as their own land. And, in so doing, it also examines what lines both sides were willing to cross in order to preserve and retake their lands. Scenes of torture and violence on both sides (although sanitised for hollywood audiences) showed the depths and stakes that both sides were fighting for. The film, although ultimately betraying the era in which it was made, is very sympathetic to complexities and paradoxes that were very much in evidence in the dying days of the empire. Indeed, the title refers to the vacuum of beliefs that imperial rule could impose upon its subject peoples in destroying indigenous systems but not replacing it with Something of Value.

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by Stephen Luscombe