Sunday, 7 December 2014

Review - Tsotsi (2005 - Dir. Gavin Hood)

When South African street hoodlum Tsotsi pinches a car from a well-to-do suburban couple the last thing he expects to find on the back seat is a baby. From this point on our hero’s life changes on a variety of levels as caring for the infant conjures up feelings of empathy, memories of his past and his hopes and aspirations. Yes it’s a little like a gritty version of 'A Christmas Carol', but how could that ever be a bad thing?

The film has its wince inducing moments, firstly as Tsotsi and his gang rampage around Johannesburg and latterly as he clumsily attempts to care for the baby. Any new parents could do a lot better than ignoring Tsotsi’s guide to looking after infants, especially nappy changing, feeding, transporting in a carrier bag and insect infestation. Ultimately, however the film leaves you with a lovely warm feeling as if you are soaking in a lovely warm bath of hopefulness for humanity, but without the candles and Lush bath bomb filth.

The lead, Presley Chweneyagae, deserves credit for producing this feel good factor as he struts around the township eliciting feelings of both fear and sympathy. Like the rest of his gang, he’s believable, detailed and likeable. Also worthy of special mention is the lovely Terry Pheto, who portrays a single mum who befriends Tsotsi. She oozes positivity, love and wholesomeness as if she’s some kind of supernatural South African earth mother on a mission to save the lost boys of the township.

It’s a great film without ever reaching the heights and complexities of City of God. South Africa has so much potential for gritty offerings and I’ll definitely be looking up other options from the country over the next year. Some lovely imagery, a great soundtrack and a meaningful story means that this is certainly worth a couple of hours of your time.


If you like this you could also try:
City of God, Gomorrah

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