Tsotsi (2005) Film Review


It is present day South Africa. Tsotsi (Presley Chweneyagae) lives in the slums of Johannesburg, hanging out with a gang and committing petty crimes to stay alive. Thanks to the psychotic Butcher (Zenzo Ngqobe), a simple robbery goes wrong and Tsotsi strikes out on his own. However, when he takes a car, he gets more than he bargained for – a small baby is in the back seat. Panicking, Tsotsi takes the child to raise as his own. But despite the assistance of Miriam(Terry Pheto), a young mother in the area, things spiral out of control for him.

Hinting on sadtacular, Tsotsi is an extremely beautifully shot film. Even the most grim-looking subways and shacks in the slums have hints of bright colour and life. Something about this gives a sense of hope, despite the desperation of the storyline. Chweneyagae is wonderful as Tsotsi, with long shots of his almost expressionless face giving conveying so much. It’s not an easy film to watch, but the story shows a party of the world that is rarely represented to the rest of the world.

Tsotsi won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year.