Karen Blackís been in a whole lot of obscure flicks, and Killing Heat is yet another one youíre rather unlikely to come across.Donít take that as too much of a disappointment, as (aside from some lush and impressive African landscapes) thereís very little in this 1981 melodrama thatís worthy of note or remembrance.
Black plays Mary Turner, an eccentric and somewhat pampered woman who has come to live with her new husband on the African plain. Itís here that she sweats a lot, screams at the natives, eventually participates in a forbidden dalliance, and slowly goes stark raving mad. And her poor long-suffering hubby! The less said about his frustrations the better.
Based on the novel by Doris Lessing and directed with a rustic sense of old-fashioned African humidity, Killing Heat ambles about aimlessly in between its few compelling plot points. (Will hubby sell his farm? Will the unhappy Ďkaffirsí eventually speak up and refuse to work?)
Black does serviceable work for the most part, only lapsing into outright silliness towards the finale when she flies off the deep end. John Thaw does a solid job as her perpetually irritated husband while John Kani (though clearly an amateur actor) steals a few scenes as their houseboy Moses.
Killing Heat= surely isnít a great movie, though itís not an awful one either. A bit too dry and arid to retain a successful mood throughout, and the flick shows off more than a few slow spots...yet for some reason I still liked parts of it.If you've always wanted to see a movie in which Africa slowly drives a spoiled woman insane, here you go.