Review: Tsotsi (2005)

Written and directed by Gavin Hood, Tsotsi, set in Johannesburg, South Africa, explores six days in the life of a young gangster. Presley Chweneyagae stars as Tsotsi, the ruthless leader of a township gang.

One evening, Tsotsi attacks a gang member who taunts him and suggests avoiding violence acts. To release his aggression, Tsotsi ventures into the suburbs and he attacks a woman entering her home. He steals her car, only to discover her infant sleeping in the back seat.

What results is a poignant tale of redemption. He takes responsibility for the baby with the help of a local widow (Terry Pheto). Through this child, Tsotsi’s soul is awakened as he confronts his past and sees a future he never thought existed. Tsotsi learns to value love and human life.

Tsotsi is a riveting and emotional experience, although sometimes difficult to watch. It offers an honest look at crime, revival, and hope for the future. Above all, it is a thrilling and touching journey into the soul of a lost individual.

Updated October 12, 2010

 

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Reviews: Four Movies I’ve Seen Recently

I’ll be away for the next 4 days so I’m leaving 4 mini-reviews of some movies you should (not) check out over the weekend.

Up and Down (2004)

This Czech film opens as two low lifes discover an abadoned child and consequenly sell it on the black market which leads to a series of unique events. Director Jan Hrebejk overlaps three plotlines of a childless couple, an emigre who returns to Prague to confront family issues, and the two criminals to tell this comic, satirical, and tragic tale of loss, family, love, and acceptance. Memorable scenes and humorous characters combine to create an above-average film.

 

Head-On (2004)

Sibel (Sibel Kikilli) and Cahit (Birol Unel) are Turkish immigrants living in Germany who are both trapped by their lives. Sibel is surrounded by her overbearing and traditional family and Cahit is a bum with no hope for the future. Upon meeting at a hospital, Sibel asks Cahit to marry her so she can escape her family. What happens next is a touching, passionate, profound, and exhilirating love story. A lovely film and a magnificent cultural experience. Ultimately worth the trip.

2046 (2004)

Chow Mo Wan (Tony Leung) is a writer who has created a science fiction masterpiece about a train, 2046, that goes nowhere and after boarding you can never exit. This story, with its vivid imagery, becomes the subplot for another.

Set in 1960′s Hong Kong, the writer lives a party lifestyle and his relationships with three girls, including one played byZiyi Zhang, is the center of movie . 2046 is a story of memories, love, and the future and it is one that should not be missed.

Off the Map (2003)

A coming-of-age story set in the remote New Mexico desert. 11-year old Bo’s life is nothing short of unique. Her family lives “off the map”, on an isolated farm that has no electricity or running water. They survive on less than $20,000 per year. One summer she watches as her father battles unexplainable depression. It is during this summer that a stranger (Jim True-Frost) emerges and through him Bo learns about love and lost. Joan Allen is beyond excellent as Bo’s mother, a part Hopi-Indian with Earth Mother tendencies. Each scene is filled with humor, originality, and beaut y. A lovely, little-known wonder of a movie that leaves you wanting more.

Review: Les Choristes (2004)


Les Choristes falls into the same category as many other movies. That is the idea of a teacher who comes to a troubled school, stands up to the negative administrator, and guides the students changing their lives forever. Dead Poets Society, Stand and Deliver and Mr Holland’s Opus are all examples.

Just because Les Choristes (The Chorus) is similar to these films does not mean it is any less of an achievement. When Clement Mathieu arrives at a boarding school for troubled boys, he is expected by the headmaster to go along the often strict discipline and ignore the depressing atmosphere. Most of the boys are orphans; one stands by the gate and waits for his father to come every Saturday. The teacher became so tired from telling him that his parents are dead, that they just please him and tell the boy that his parents will come the following Saturday.

It becomes evident to Mathieu that the boys need guidance and an escape from the harsh environment of the school. Against the wishes of the headmaster, Mathieu forms the Chorus and with his passion and unconventional teaching methods, he gives the boys something to enjoy and believe in for once in their lives.