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March 22, 2009



by Franz Patrick

Tsotsi (2005)
★★★★ / ★★★★

I found this film to be thoroughly engaging from beginning to end because, despite the roughness and violence presented on the outside, the core is very sensitive but nothing is glamorized. Presley Chweneyagae is excellent as the lead because he’s convincing as a gang leader and a person who happens to have a broken soul because of his childhood. We see his character change in myriads of ways but each of those changes are subtle enough to leave a lasting impression. My favorite scene was when Chweneyagae was able to connect the old man on the wheelchair to a dog with a broken back. That scene was so powerful because there are a lot of muffled emotions and unsaid thoughts yet I couldn’t help but feel like everything is being revealed. I do not consider this a typical journey of a man becoming a “better person” by the end of the picture. Instead of taking a literal journey to exotic places, the main character was able to find self-respect, honor, and the ability to love in the place where he lived pretty much his whole life. With the help of the baby that he accidentally took while hijacking a car–seeing himself in that child while at the same time reminding him that the child is everything that he is not–he began a transformation that ultimately warrants his redemption. I’m glad the Academy recognized this as the Best Foreign Language Film of 2006. I will remember this film for a very long time.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Mar 22 2009

    I totally agree that the best thing about this movie is that it’s not a straightforward ‘better person’ story. This movie felt important without feeling heavy-handed or ‘message-y’.

  2. Mar 22 2009

    I heard about this from a friend. I was surprised that it ended up being really good because she tends to like syrupy movies/chick flicks. =P I was REALLY hesitant.

  3. Mar 23 2009

    Hehe. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I’ve become much less likely to watch this kind of serious movies over the last couple of years. I’m hesitant to even begin contemplating how many great, somber dramas I’ve while I’ve been occupied with watching the American middle class family tear itself to pieces,hehe.

  4. Mar 26 2009

    Hahaha. You sure do love your suburban misery.


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