The movie portrays Mwangi, a boy whose preacher father gets murdered by the Mau Mau revolutionaries in 1950. Mwangi goes to work as a servant for police officer John Graham (Bob Peck) and his wife Janet (Phyllis Logan). Among other things, while this family looks like the average kindly British family, Janet is the most dour person imaginable; so it’s no surprise that John is having an affair with the wife of his best friend. But when the revolutionaries kidnap Mwangi and make him swear allegiance to their cause, a potentially explosive situation arises.
Probably the most relevant scene is the message during the closing credits. In 1952, Kenya’s colonial government declared a state of emergency (which of course means no civil liberties of any kind). In the ensuing war, about 80 Europeans and 14,000 Africans were killed. Aside from the obvious fact that those numbers mirror the numbers that came out of Vietnam and now come out of Iraq, it just gives one a sense of how colonialism totally screwed up the whole world. Because of colonialism, we see so many of the conflicts in the world today.
I wouldn’t be surprised if, back in the ‘50s, England’s government used European deaths in Kenya to try and justify the occupation of that country, and also said things like “We have to fight them there so that we don’t have to fight them here.” —IMDb.com