Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Tsotsi begins with a gang walking through a desolate town on the outskirts of Johannesburg. They are only teenagers but it is clear that they mean business. The gang belongs to Tsotsi and the film follows his trials and tribulations over a 6 day period as he makes the most important mistakes and decisions in his life. His gang have grown up in the harsh conditions of an orphan upbringing and are generally no more than thugs out to make money on the misery of others suffering their wrath. A pivitol moment occurs when he steals a car from a rich neighbourhood and after making his getaway, realises he has also kidnapped a baby that was asleep in the back. Despite his misgivings and general apathy towards others lives, he cannot bring himself to give up the child and brings it home.

The film showcases how looking after another life who relies on him for survival changes Tsotsi's viewpoints and turns a mirror on how he has been living his own life. Every decision he makes is on a knife-edge and this feeds the human emotional drama as the viewer is consistently unsure how he will react, heighening the conflict that is raging withing Tsotsi and the impact of how one decision can change your life forever.

Tsotsi, which loosly translates as "thug" in the urban slang of Johannesburg, was the winner of Best Foreign Film at the 2006 Oscar's and deservedly so as it highlights just how good foreign films can be and in a lot of ways can tell stories that Holywood refuses to because they are perhaps scared to lose money on an ethnic film with a true-to-life background setting albeit with an invented plotline but which has surely happened in real life. In summation, a movie well worth checking out.

I would give this film 4 thugs out of 5



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