Tsotsi review
Food & Leisure
September 7, 2016
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Tsotsi is a film about redemption and the struggles of people living in poverty in South Africa. The film follows a thug and his gang as they live a life of crime in the township of Johannesburg, South Africa. Until “Tsotsi”, the protagonist, mistakenly kidnaps a baby leading him on the path to redemption.
The film is directed by Gavin Hood, who is most famous for work recently on Eye in the sky and Wolverine origins. However this by far his best film, and some great directing due to his colours to reflect the themes and what is happening in the story, also the use of symbolism with some of the shots and costume design helps with this as well. This film was only going to be shown in South Africa but however was later shown couple years in wide release at the film festivals. It also picked up an academy award for best foreign film. The film is also well acted even though most of the cast are virtually unknown to western audiences.
Even though Tsotsi if a good, the film does suffer from a few flaws. One of things that the film suffers from is the fact that is the film is very predictable, for this I mean that from the beginning we can tell that the main character is becoming to become a better person. This makes it almost feel like the film is dragging on towards the end, even though with a time of 1hr 40mins, because we know what is going to happen. Another part of the film which I don’t like is the fact that most of the characters are mainly just clichés, who have the “thick one” which is Aup, Butcher who is the violent one and reckless, Boston who is the intelligent one and Tsotsi as the one who is distance but is the most sensitive.
However one of the things I do like about the film is of the issues it displays, of poverty in South Africa and how people have to turn to crime to survive. I feel that the film does a good job of displaying this by setting the film from the point of view of someone living in poverty and has already turned to crime but is trying to do what’s right and turning back. I also feel that the use of colours and lighting is also great as it reflects what is happening to the character and what is happening in the story. For example using the light and dark to represent Tsotsi change from good to bad. I also feel that Gavin Hood does a great job as using shots for a great way of visual storytelling, displaying more of themes of the film and the issues.
Overall I feel that Tsotsi is a film well worth your time even though it does suffer from some character clichés and the predictability. However I still feel that the messages and themes are very important and are told very stylistically through the camera angles and the use of mise-en-scene. I would give this film a 7/10.

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