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The crime movies that I often love watching the most are the ones that are deliberately kept small and simple. They involve a simple plot and have some ordinary, everyday characters in them, which makes the movies realistic and involving to watch. And while this is perhaps not the most realistic genre you will ever see, it still is a very likable and involving one to watch.

This South African Oscar winning movie manages to become a good genre movie, despite the fact that South Africa doesn't have a strong history in making films (at least not at the time). It's set at the slums of Johannesburg and follows a couple of days in the life of a young criminal, whose life is about to change, due to some unforeseen events. The movie does a good job at capturing the hard life of poor and abandoned youngsters, who basically have no other choice than to devote their lives to crime, in order to survive.

No, I admit that this is definitely not the strongest or most violent genre movies you will ever see but I feel that the movie was perhaps going for a more human and personal story instead, which still worked out well. It manages to make its main character a likable one, even though he does some bad stuff in this movie. It ultimately is a movie about redemption, which is a theme that often works out well for a movie of this sort.

The only real problem I had with this movie was that it didn't always felt very organic. It's build up- and looks like a realistic movie but some of the developments in it aren't really all that convincing. Sometimes the movie even feels forced and as a viewer you simple have to take some stuff for granted. The way the main character slowly but steadily started to change worked out fine and interesting at first but after a while it started to speed things up and suddenly it didn't felt all that convincing anymore. This of course got worse toward its end but luckily the movie doesn't make the mistake to become a sappy or melodramatic one, so it's all still perfectly acceptable to watch.

And it overall really remains a well shot movie. It has a good look and atmosphere to it and the story is getting told in a pleasant pace. It never gets a slow movie to watch and there basically is always something happening in it. With its 90 minutes it is a bit of a short movie but this actually works in its own advantage, I felt and thought.

It's also one of those movies in which the characters seem to be played by non-professionals, which was actually also the case, for most part. Most of the actors in this movie had no experience at all, prior to this movie, including Presley Chweneyagae, who plays the lead role. Yes, it truly does add to the overall realistic feeling of the movie. All of the performances feel very natural, as if they are portraying true persons, instead of just movie characters.

Simply a really good, involving and likable genre movie, that is definitely not without its flaws though but don't let that stop you from watching it.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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