`Tsotsi' is one gorgeous and thrilling film. Not only is it a first-rate piece of storytelling, but it also takes the viewer into a world of South African poverty and crime that one might not know existed. Director/writer Gavin Hood offers us a tale of tragic redemption and uncommon poetry in a subculture of the most abject immorality.
The actors here were phenomenal and their performances were both realistic and believable. Natural talented Presley Chweneyagae , as Tsotsi, is not just physically charismatic, but the changes in his voice are gripping in communicating the extreme range of feelings he experiences over the few days the film takes place. This is a road trip through his soul, from flash backs to existential acts from his depths to finding his humanity (and his real name). His relationship with a cruelly accidental foundling infant has no comparison to the dozens of films, usually comedies, made around the world about an irresponsible guy stuck with a kid and how a child can be father to man. While his picaresque physical and psychic journey is almost as theatrical in its coincidences as "Crash", the tension is built up as it is unpredictable in each confrontation whether he will react violently or redemptive.
Just when I thought his side kicks were indifferent, even they turned out to have complicated stories that were well portrayed, particularly Mothusi Magano as "Boston".Terry Pheto as "Miriam" is the very essence of a woman who shows artistic talent, strength and nourishment in her role. It is rare to see maternal love so powerfully portrayed onto a film.
The music embedded in here is strong and goes perfect with this picture. There were times I would playback a scene so I can rehear the music samples. After watching this film I was able to grab hold of the soundtrack. The tracks were put together by local South African's. The artist who are particularly outstanding are the tracks by local Kwaito artist Zola which uniquely combine local and international hip hop into a new sound, as well as tracks with the inspiring voice of Vasi Mahlasela over choirs, which recalls Ladysmith Black Mambazo. With an attention to detail in the music, the middle class family listens to soft R & B on their car radio, in comparison to the township sound that surrounds the Soweto residents.
The subtitles are well done throughout and translated musical lyrics, even as we can occasionally pick out some Pidgin English amidst the township jive. In the end, this crime film is a morality play about sin and love. `Tsotsi' shows a powerful statement about the transforming nature of guilt. This is truly a must see. I also highly recommend 'City of God.'