Neo-noir heist drama loses the plot halfway

2011-07-25 00:00

THE South African film How to Steal 2 million starts off as a complex and riveting film with scintillating cinematography, but it loses its momentum as it hits the halfway mark and becomes tedious and untidy, resorting to clichés rather than true grit.

Nevertheless, the film entertains and the star cast is bound to have fans raving.

The neo-noir heist drama is set in a dog-eat-dog world that’s decorated in shadows and deceit and follows the decisions of a brooding gangster, Jack (Menzi Ngubane of Generations, Country of my Skull fame), who has just been released after five years in prison. He comes back to a life that offers him nothing to live for. His fiancée, Kim (Hlubi Mboya, Isidingo), married his best friend, Twala (Rapulana Seiphemo, Tsotsi, Jerusalema), while he was in jail and his plans to change his ways and live a crime-free life are constantly challenged. Twala offers Jack one last job before he walks away, a house robbery worth R2 million, but unknown to Jack, Twala has his own motives behind the hit.

The film also stars Terry Pheto (Tsotsi) as Olive, Jack’s accomplice, a spunky woman willing to do anything for money so that she can support her kid.

Jack is an intriguing character, and Ngubane brings him to life with skill. Accompanied by Pheto, who provides some great comic relief, he drives the film to its climax, despite the screenplay losing its wheels.

Co-stars Seiphemo, Mboya and John Kani also provide noteworthy performances that prove South Africa indeed does have talent.

However, the action sequences and tension are weak, especially with the film’s genre relying on it, making it appear stylistically low-budget despite there being some excellent cinematography in the opening scenes and brilliant dialogue. The film also rushes to a conclusion in which every character meets a type of karmic justice, but it is too quick and subtle to make any statement and feels almost cowardly.

This debut feature by Charlie Vundla is one of the 22 films being screened at the Durban International Film Festival and will be showing at cinemas nationwide in September. The film is in Afrikaans, English and Zulu with English subtitles. ***

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.