Disgrace (2008) Directed by Steve Jacobs. With John Malkovich, Natalie Becker, Jessica Haines, Antionette Engel and Eriq Ebouaney.
John Malkovich stars in this tense drama about a university professor, struggling to contain his inappropriate sexual urges towards one of his young students. Thankfully, this isn’t just a story about about a dirty old man, the contrary, Disgrace becomes something much more thought provoking and intelligent, as it’s events unravel.
Set in post-apartheid South Africa and based on a novel by J.M Coetzee, director Steve Jacobs wastes no time by thrusting us straight into the world of David Lurie (Malkovich) and his dangerous, extracurricular relationships. David is a deep man, unafraid to voice his feelings. We see his apartment, his shelves are filled with books on the poet, Lord Byron. He turns his nose up at Charles Dickens. He’s a bit of a snob.
Malkovich gives a captivating performance, raising the film to another level. His character is the sort you’d hate to meet. His self obsession is borderline sickening, but his intelligence and forthright opinions make him a constant fascination. Events conspire to put David’s guilt surrounding his illicit affairs under the microscope, leaving much for the viewer to reflect on afterwards.
High praise must also go to a good supporting cast, particularly first time actress Jessica Haines, who as David’s daughter, Lucy, gives a solid performance. It might not have been widely seen, or talked about, but Disgrace is one of those polished gems you’ll be glad to discover. 3.5/5