Countryman (1982)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Adventure Drama, Jungle Film  |   Release Date - Jan 1, 1982 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 102 min.  |   Countries - Jamaica, United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Derek Armstrong

Fans of Jamaica, reggae, and marijuana will probably enjoy Countryman, but most others will likely be stranded by the strong dialects and the minimal plot. Vague political intrigue, vague tweaking of taboos, vague character motivations -- it's all pretty vague in a movie that exists as a pastiche of cultural symbols, its action inspired more by ambience than narrative fluidity. On this score, it succeeds, using the naturalistic settings, and peopling these with interesting character types, to create a true sense of the insider's Jamaica. The best and clearest scenes involve the crash victims trying to stay hidden in their jungle encampment; it's here that director Dickie Jobson inserts the sequence clearly designed as the "stoner's delight," in which a trio of characters smoke a lot of ganja and eat a lot of scrumptious fruit. Ultimately, Countryman works better as a moving visual accompaniment to the reggae music, and a pseudo documentary-style glimpse into a foreign culture. As narrative filmmaking, it's a long way short of Perry Henzell's The Harder They Come, the classic Jimmy Cliff starrer that paved the way for future Jamaican cinema.