Aussie Ninja gives this fine film some well deserved praise
Publisher: AV Channel
Fri, 15 December 2006
by: Australian Ninja
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Tsotsi. Loved it. Great film. That's my review done.
Oh, you expected more? Well then let me tell you about a man, or thug, named Tsotsi [Pronounced 'Sott-sea']. Tsotsi is a young lad who likes a good time out with his friends. A bit of drink, a bit of petty theft, healthy doses of bashing people up for no good reason, and the occasional stabbing add up to a good time in Tsotsi's world.
What world would that be? South Africa, specifically Johannesburg. Nestled next to the high rise buildings and suburbs are the slums of Johannesburg where in his shack, Tsotsi does live.
This film is brought to you by the letter 'M.' As in Madman under the "Av Channel" imprint.
Being an impulsive and could-care-less individual - if Tsotsi wants something, he just takes it. Whether it's a leather jacket, some cash or a vehicle. His escalating impulsive and reckless behaviour leads Tsotsi to car jacking a young mother outside her home one night while he strolls through the suburbs. The distraught mother screams at him as he tries to drive away. He pulls out a stolen gun and shoots her point blank. Only later when he dumps the car does he realise there is a sleeping baby in the back seat. Having neither the callousness to kill the baby or cold-heartedness to leave it alone in the backseat, he picks it up and takes it home to his shack in a large shopping bag.
In the slums we really see some great panorama camera work showing the city in the background. The affluent and poor are shown in stark contrast in this film.
|"Lonely as I am, together we cry" |
Perched next to the city skyscrapers, the depressingly decrepit slums are home to the likes of Tsotsi and his mates. Just a stones throw away are the middle class suburbs of those with some wealth in Johannesburg, such as the home of the woman that Tsotsi stole the car and baby from.
In his shack Tsotsi tries to feed the baby unsuccessfully. Later in the film he takes the baby to another mother in the slums to get her to breast feed it.
It's a credit to the film makers that we can see Tsotsi shooting an innocent woman and earlier bashing one of his good friends near to death in the one night, then looking after a baby. Strange as it sounds, it's believable and very human the warmth he displays towards the beautiful young child, despite his vile nature.
The film score and soundtrack give the film a very distinct, unique sound.
Mixing traditional South African music with modern day Kwaito [aka South African house music] creates a moody atmosphere in the film and draws us further into the bleak setting. I thoroughly enjoyed the music and would love to listen to the soundtrack.
A feat well accomplished in this film is the seamless integration of all the various music. The original film score and the licensed music are masterfully blended giving us great emotional impact throughout the film. There is a hardly a moment when some music or other is not heard in the film.
In particular, it reminded me just how much music is a way of life in some parts of the world. Here I'm thinking of Africa, Brazil, and India among others - where the culture of music, dance, and celebration, are blended into people's everyday lives, more so than in western countries.
What made this film special for me is how easy it was to relate to the main character. He may be a thug, and at times a ruthless bastard - but he is still human, and even the worst of us have some good qualities. Faced with the same situation, what would we do? If we too lived in a shack and our daily lives had no meaning, how would this affect us? Can we really say what we would choose to do faced with the same life circumstances?
I really don't know. But I do know Tsotsi the film is powerful enough to make you stop and think about how our own lives could have been different. We have it pretty damn good in this country.
|What an excellent pic - you could read so much from looking at this shot |
While that's not what the film is about, it's hard not to think about whether some of us would really be any different than Tsotsi after seeing the desperation of people living in the South African slums.
While I won't give away the ending, it was clear to me that Tsotsi has at least some hope of redeeming himself, maybe even changing his life for the better if he chooses it, but it will be a hard road. To me, no matter who you are, no matter what mistakes you've made or despicable things you have done - it is always possible to change for the better, to forgive ourselves and others, and to grow as a human being.
That's my two cents, the retail/ rental DVD will have the usual extras; making of etc that were not on the preview version. What's with the waiting, go watch this delicious film, why not?
by: Australian Ninja
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A powerful and passionate film showing us the darker side of human nature. Highly recommended.