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The story of political leader Patrice Lumumba, Congo's first prime minister who helped lead his country to independence from Belgium in the late 1950s. Lumumba's vision of a united Africa gained him powerful enemies: the Belgian authorities, who wanted a much more paternal role in their former colony's affairs, and the CIA, who supported Lumumba's former friend Joseph Mobutu. This was in order to protect U.S. business interests in Congo's vast resources and their upper hand in the Cold War power balance. During the tenuous first six months of Congo's independence when… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Peck, who assayed Lumumba's life in a 1991 documentary, now paces the doomed man's story like the genuine thriller it is."
‑ Ella Taylor, L.A. Weekly
"An engrossing film that attempts to unearth a dark period of African history and the short-lived tenure of Lumumba's power."
‑ Marta Barber, Miami Herald
"It's a prime example of how a historical drama can be politically correct but thoroughly embalmed. The memory of Patrice Lumumba deserves better."
‑ Kelly Vance, East Bay Express
"The story of the Congo and its struggle for independence from Belgium is a bloody and torrid one, but Lumumba doesn't really imbue the tale with much spirit."
‑ Christopher Null,
"Bites off way more than it can chew, it is often artlessly made, and it assumes that we know more than most of us do about the Congolese Nationalist Movement."
‑ Chris Hewitt (St. Paul), St. Paul Pioneer Press
"At the heart of the movie is Ebouaney's performance as Lumumba, every bit as intense as Denzel Washington's as Malcolm X."
‑ John Monaghan, Detroit Free Press
"The vividness of the figures and situations whets the appetite."
‑ Eric Harrison, Houston Chronicle
"Drawn from life or not, film people need some flaw, some depth, a facial betrayal of emotional struggle. If not, they are the stuff of action adventure, rooted for but at once forgotten."
‑ Donald J. Levit, ReelTalk Movie Reviews
‑ Lawrence Toppman, Charlotte Observer
"Earnestly but amateurishly acted, the movie feels more like a play with the actors exaggerating their gestures so that even those in the cheap seats won't miss anything."
‑ Steve Rhodes, Internet Reviews
"Ebouaney is easily the best thing about this import."
‑ Glenn Lovell, San Jose Mercury News
"Ebouaney is given the daunting task of carrying a heavy film, and rises to the challenge with Denzel Washington-esque conviction."
‑ Gary Dowell, Dallas Morning News
"One day, when Ebouaney is a huge star, people will look back at this film and say 'That's what did it.'"
‑ Luke Y. Thompson, New Times
"Lumumba overcomes some minor shortcomings and becomes an important and gripping feature."
‑ Ted Murphy,
"A tense drama told with style and ambition -- and with a remarkably steely, energized performance at its core."
‑ Shawn Levy, Oregonian
More reviews for Lumumba on Rotten Tomatoes