This intense film retraces the meteoric career of political figure Patrice Lumumba (Ebouaney) during the Congo's transition to independence from Belgium in 1960. As the country's first black Prime Minister, the outspoken leader threatened many influential types in Belgium and America. It appears Lumumba's fate was sealed virtually from the moment he entered office, as wily former comrade Joseph Mobutu (Descas) quietly schemed with Lumumba's enemies to seize control.
Raoul Peck's political thriller vibrates with tension, as we see how Lumumba's rise to prominence was punctuated by some extremely rough handling by the prior regime, and that once in power, his respite from such brutal treatment would be tragically short. Ebouaney is electric as the fiery, defiant Lumumba, a man whose worst sin was not sensing and neutralizing the treacherous forces surrounding him. This tight, involving film packs a wallop in reviving a disturbing chapter in Africa's turbulent history.