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On the edges of Johannesburg, Tsotsi's life has no meaning beyond survival. One night, in desperation, Tsotsi steals a woman's car. But as he is driving off, he makes a shocking discovery in the backseat. In one moment his life takes a sharp turn and leads him down an unexpected path to redemption...giving him hope for a future he never could have imagined. Tsotsi is an extraordinary portrait of how compassion can endure in the human heart. (Languages: Tsotsitaal, Zulu, Xhosa and English.)
Top Customer Reviews
Presley Cheweneyagae plays the lead, a Johannesburg small-time gangster whose nickname Tsotsi means "thug". I read somewhere that Presley was discovered playing Hamlet in a Soweto theatre group. He's a find in a million, as his performance is mesmerising.
Tsotsi finds a baby in the back of a car he's just jacked off a suburban black woman as the woman waited for the security gates outside her home to open. He doesn't do the expected and simply dump the baby at the side of the road - surprisingly, he decides to take it home and care for it. He hasn't a clue how to care for a child of course and he turns to a local woman who makes decorative mobiles from glass. She's a nursing mother herself, and - under the threat of death, mind you - Tsotsi gets her to look after the child while he goes back out there to do his thing.
It's an interesting study of how complex life is for people who don't have much and while the movie doesn't make excuses or descend into sentimentality at any point, it's engaging to gradually see the heart of the man called Tsotsi - a man who at first glance seemed utterly heartless - emerge for all to see. It's a great story, based on the novel by South African playwright Athol Fugard, and the final scenes had me (literally) on the edge of my seat the first time I watched it. Gavin Hood makes good use of Johannesburg's urban setting and the natural beauty of South Africa. I strongly recommend this movie. For anyone who might not know and who may have an interest, this is an authentic slice of African life.
Tsotsi - translated, means 'Thug'- (Presley Chweneyagae) is an amoral youth who heads a gang of four: Boston (Mothusi Magano), Aap (Kenneth Nkosi), and Butcher (Zenzo Ngqobe). The gang steals and in general leads a life of dangerous existence, a life that abruptly alters when the gang robs and kills a gentle older man on the subway. They are on the run now and Tsotsi isolates himself further when he brutally beats Boston. He descends further into the abyss when he steals a car in the wealthy neighborhood, shooting the woman driving, and then discovering that in the back seat is an infant. His childhood flashes before his eyes and he finally shows a degree if buried decency when he takes the child with him as he abandons the stolen vehicle. Young and inexperienced in child care (his own childhood was riddled with hate and abuse), he seeks help from a young woman Miriam (Terry Pheto) who has an infant of her own (with no father) and serves as a wet nurse for the child. The manner in which Tsotsi gradually reconciles his bad life with his nascent response to recognizing kindness and salvation advances the story to its conclusion.Read more ›
Tsotsi (Presley Chweneygae) is a hood, a young man who kills and steals without any apparent concern for what he is doing and why he is doing it. His face and eyes radiate mostly hate and disdain. He is psychically and emotionally detached and removed. Then, one day he steals a luxury car, shoots the woman to whom it belongs and realizes, once he drives the car away, that there is an infant in the back seat.
This beautiful, innocent child forces Tsotsi ( really named David) to face the loss of his Mother, the uncaring, drunken non-concern of his father and the deep seated, mostly ignored or glossed , psychically ignored feelings with which he hasn't been able to deal.
Director and screenwriter Gavin Hood (adapted from a novel by Athol Fugard) has fashioned a traditionally structured film and peopled it with non-traditional characters and it works because we can all relate to Tsotsi's dilemma. And it doesn't hurt to have Presley Chweneygae as your lead character. The first time we see Tsotsi on screen he looks at the camera with his huge black eyes: eyes that are filled with superiority, despair, disgust and hurt. When he first sees the infant his eyes and face fill with wonder and awe at the utter helplessness and innocence. It is this disparity and friction that makes the film crackle with fire and well observed life.
"Tsotsi" is not a revolutionary film like say the similarly themed "Children of God" but it is a very emotionally effective and socially aware one and Presley Chweneyagae's performance is so natural and truthful that it makes you wince with recognition and empathy.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A most excellent and heartwarming story. The story of this boy's life unfolds as he makes the decision to change his life based on an unpredictable incident… very well done.Published 1 month ago by Addicted to books
Extremely and unnecessarily violent in the first few minutes, and then slipped into the cliche of the tough guy struggling to deal with a little baby. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Vanessa
I do not have anything whitty to say why I did not like this film, I just did not like the setting, or the characters..Published 6 months ago by Shoe Lover
Great movie. The disturbing imagery is not for everyone, but the filming is excellent and the story is compelling.Published 12 months ago by J. hargreaves
Saw it in the theater years ago. Always wanted it for my collection. A must-see for Foreign Film fans. Enjoyed it more the second time around. The acting was spot on.Published 14 months ago by alexander mellon jr