Friday, March 13, 2015

Tsotsi Review

Sometimes my thoughts and feelings come rushing forward during and shortly after I have watched a movie, a crystal clear opinion formed, an unwavering belief in whatever I personally extracted from the work. That simply didn't happen here with Tsotsi, a film that in quite a few aspects is masterful yet I can't quite shake the feeling that, as a whole, something wasn't quite right.

The performances in Tsotsi are remarkable and the usage of the setting of this story is wonderfully realized and smart, with the poverty stricken region bringing an authenticity to a narrative in desperate need of it, and there in lies the problem I think (?) I have with the film overall. I was often times close to being moved by the redemption story being presented, but I never quite got there because I never quite completely bought it. I can't put my finger on exactly why, but the entire concept just felt too easy and theatrical, like it was written to extract emotion from me forcefully rather than earning it with a fiction that felt like fact. 

It isn't that I don't believe evil people are incapable of finding decency and peace in the world, I do believe that, but in Tsotsi it just never felt 100 percent genuine, literally making a transition from committing a brutal murder in one scene to holding a baby and cherishing a moment in the sun over the course of a small span of time. 

Still though, I have to recommend the movie despite all of that complaining I just did because what Tsotsi does right, it does so wonderfully, and this cold, confused feeling I am trying my best to explain would not rear its ugly head with everyone. I can guarantee that a great deal of people viewing this film will in fact buy in to the story and the powerful emotional content and imagery will resonate deeply, and I don't blame anyone for it. In fact, I am rooting for each and every one of you to fall in love with this movie if you get the chance. 

Typically I am very easily moved by cinema and yet I never was during Tsotsi. Perhaps I am just heartless at the moment and at another time, under different circumstances, I would have fallen in love with this story. 

For now I will just settled for liking and admiring it.



  1. My opinion is this and i'm saying this without seeing the film its more a broad statement
    Just because a film is from a foreign [i'll specific non English language] country does not make it a good movie

    I'm not referring to you but there are elitist film buffs who only watch Foreign films and think they are the bee's knees

    1. Oh I completely agree with you. I have seen plenty of foreign language films that do absolutely nothing for me.

      Tsotsi won Best Foreign Language film at the Oscars, and I can technically see why, it is exactly the type of work that appeals to voters, but I just felt oddly indifferent about whether I bought into the whole premise.

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