Dir: Jerome Salle
Star: Orlando Bloom, Forest Whitaker, Tanya van Graan, Natasha Loring

Not, in any way, to be confused with the classic sixties film starring Michael Caine. I feel it's important to get that out of the way. This is an investigative police thriller, with Bloom and Whitaker playing Brian Epkeen and Alik Sokhela, a pair of South African cops who are investigating the brutal murder of a young woman, whose body was found in the Cape Town botanical gardens. Epkeen is an alcoholic, estranged from his wife and their son; Sokhela is still traumatised by an incident from the apartheid era, where as a kid he watched his father being "necklaced", and was then assaulted by the white police. While the investigation into the young woman's death is given all the resources, much less concern is shown in the disappearance of a number of black street youths. But it turns out there is a connection, in the form of a nasty new drug with some entirely deliberate side-effects, which it appears somebody is trying to use for a spot of pharmaceutical ethnic cleansing.

The setting is interesting and different, events unfolding against the backdrop of a country still struggling very much to come to terms with a very murky past. I also found the mix of languages used, sometimes shifting between them in the same conversation, an effective marker of the melting pot that is modern South Africa. However, the main characters never get above the level of cliched, and the storyline is no great shakes either, with the villains behaving in ways that are more necessary to the plot than logical. There are some impressive moments, e.g. the horrific realization about the identity of one body, given to the viewer before Sokhela, and Bloom is close to unrecognizable. [Maybe he should have wielded a bow?] However, it can't decide whether it wants to be a police procedural or a violent thriller, and ends up being a half-baked crossbreed, that doesn't truly satisfy as either. Instead, it's likely most effective at putting you off South Africa as a holiday destination.

[February 2015]

That leaves only 3,940.
See also... [Index] [Previous] [TC Home Page]