Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Capsule Review: Tsotsi (2005)

A deeply emotional and assured film, Tsotsi (meaning thug, as well as being the main characters name) explores the lives of petty criminals in Soweto, the township outside Johannesburg. Tsotsi (Presley Chweneyagae) is their leader, an emotionless killer who seems to have few redeeming qualities until he finds himself accidentally in possession of an infant. What follows isn't a tale of redemption, but an examination of how a series of events can forever change a person. Tsotsi forces a young mother (Terry Pheto) to breast-feed the child, but they eventually develop a sense of mutual respect which forces Tsotsi to rethink some of his life's choices. Surprisingly hopeful, South African director Gavin Hood (later to helm X-Men Origins: Wolverine) avoids the flash of films like City of God while refusing to make judgments on his characters. Winner of the 2006 Best Foreign Language film Oscar.

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