Nommer 37 is not your average gangster flick

Nommer 37

Director: Nosipho Dumisa

Cast: Irshaad Ally, Monique Rockman,

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Set in a fictional portrayal of the Cape Flats, wheelchair-bound Randal Hendricks (Irshaad Ally) and his girlfriend Pam (Monique Rockman) have to adjust to his new life after a drug dealing-related incident leaves him paralysed from the waist down.

To make matters worse, Randal is in financial debt to merciless loan shark Emmie (Danny Ross). Just when he believes he’s found a way out in the form of binoculars gifted to him by Pam, he’s inundated with even more problems.

Can he survive or is his story just like so many narratives within the Cape Flats – tragic and short? Nommer 37 is a new local film by writer and director Nosipho Dumisa, and she’s said that this isn’t a movie about gangsters. And it really isn’t – rather, it’s a captivating tale of love, sacrifice and doing everything in your power to survive.

You’d be forgiven for thinking this is just another film that takes advantage of people’s morbid curiosity for Cape Town gang violence, however, Dumisa too believed that the story of gangsters had been played out, and so instead chose to introduce us to a sort of Cape Flats Bonnie and Clyde in the form of Pam and Randal.

The cast is stellar, especially Ally, who we’ve previously seen in the 2013 film Four Corners and KykNET drama Suidooster. Danny Ross of Broken Vows and Suidooster fame, and David Manuel from Noem My Skollie, who plays mob boss Lawyer within this film, also deliver strongly.

This is the big screen debut of actress Rockman in the leading role, and she’s accompanied by the only other noteworthy female actress within the film, Sandi Schultz, whom we have seen in Binnelanders as well as Noem My Skollie. Herein she plays the role of detective Gail February.

That this movie is populated with men and only has two women should contribute to a representational issue, however these two actresses – Rockman and Schultz – play their roles so dominantly that it isn’t a problem.

This film will have you at the very edge of your seat with anticipation of the next move, it climaxes so perfectly that there are times when you want to shout at the characters to do something to avoid what you think is about to happen next. It’s a good example of how great movies can be made right here in South Africa, showcasing our extraordinary talents, from writing to acting and even directing. The only issue I believe one could have is with the language barrier, and needing to read the subtitles.

The colourful Afrikaans loses some of its emotion when translated into English, and some of it got a little lost in translation.

This movie is definitely a must-see for everyone who isn’t afraid of a little stress – because let me assure you, that is what you will be leaving the cinema with.