Movie Review by Neils Hesse
Starring: Tony Kgoroge, Rapulana Seiphemo, Percy Matsemela, Makhaola Ndebele
Director: Oliver Schmitz
Sox (Tony Kgoroge) is an upcoming actor who desperately wants to get a job playing a gangster in a popular TV series. His first audition for the role ends in disappointment making him realise his need for a better understanding of the township gangs. This leads him to Soweto Township in search of a real life gangster whom he can observe and learn from. The gangster he finally gets to meet turns out to be an old school mate of his named Zama (Rapulana Seiphemo). Zama and his crew of two other gangsters include Fly (Percy Matsemela) and Joe (Makhaola Ndebele). Sox is then led into a string of car robberies, easy money and drugs culminating in a high speed, bullet riddled car chase with the police. In a twist of fate Zama takes on Sox’s role in the final audition with an interesting result.
Tony Kgoroge makes a good debut as Sox, a black man brought up in the white suburbs who is very naïve about the ghetto and is willing to go to great lengths just to get the gangster role. “Rapulana Seiphemo” is excellent as “Zama” the hardened gangster who still has a dream of starting a new life. The supporting performances are equally exceptional, particularly Owen Sejake (Bra Dan) a retired hustler and uncle to Sox pulls off this cameo role with the right amount of weariness, wisdom and street savy that the role requires. Percy Matsemela and Makhaola Ndebele handle the portrayal of Zama’s two fellow gangsters with the right emotions.
The direction by Oliver Schmitz is impressive and realistic, building up the pace and showing how much the American movie world has influenced African culture. Shot in a refreshing documentary style, cinematographer Martin Todsharow clearly excels when depicting the South African ghetto and suburban areas. The soundtrack fuses South African drumbeats with African American hip-hop flawlessly under the control of Michel Amatheiu.
All in all it is a very good, realistic look at South African ghetto and gangster structures and it gives out a good message that everyone should learn from.