Hard to Get

Hard to Get (Facebook)
Hard to Get (Facebook)
What it's about:

TK is a handsome and charming womaniser who runs at the first mention of commitment. His life changes when he meets Skiets, the one woman immune to his charms.

Skiets is an adrenaline junkie who earns a living as a petty criminal. If TK is to have any chance with her, he will have to survive a gauntlet of dangerous undertakings. It isn’t long before Skiets attempts to steal a car from the most feared man in town, Mugza, and things get messy. TK and Skiets end up in a brawl with Mugza, only narrowly escaping to Johannesburg in Mugza's car.

In Johannesburg, Gumede, a charming, quirky businessman, comes to their rescue. Or so it seems.

They may find love, but will they discover that crime doesn’t pay?

What we thought:

First let us give a big round of applause to the creators of this South African gem. Not only did they make a movie which truly has a local feel to it, but they managed a good budget to create an outstanding action film with gritty actors and romance that you can’t help but fall in love with. Not only does it set a whole new standard for South African film, it appeals to most audiences, which is a feat in itself in our rainbow nation.

Womaniser TK lives a simple life, until the wild Skiets enters the bar he works at and brings with her all manner of trouble. They piss of the wrong gangster by stealing his beloved car and head to the shining City of Gold. Their new-found love is tested in the Joburg underworld, but find something within each other that keep them fighting.

I admit, I cringed when I first heard the title. I really don’t know what the thought process behind it was, but it is terrible. It brings up images of B-grade action movies that you would watch late night on the Action Channel. And it is not a B-grade movie. The script is layered with rich texture that parallels SA’s criminal world with the growing love of too young fools. But their foolishness is what makes them such great characters.

It is no wonder that this film opened this year’s Durban Film Festival. Besides the script, the cinematography just made your heart jump as the grit and gore turns into beautiful imagery. And the music! I think a big part of this movie’s success is how incredibly well the score was paired with the visual and action. Not only that, the music was original and songs were taken from a variety of SA artists. Look out for the scene with Toya Delazy’s Heart, just makes your heart all warm and fuzzy.

However, this is not a warm and fuzzy movie. It is incredibly raw not only in its depiction of the dark side of the new SA, but also in the sexual energy that passion can turn into love, as well as jealousy. But still well-balanced with humour, even the villainous Mugza (Israel Makoe) has some classic moments and ended off the movie perfectly. Be warned though, there is intense violence and some slightly porno scenes, so best to leave the kiddies at home.

First time (!) feature director Zee Ntuli and producers Junaid Ahmed and Helena Spring certainly took a gamble with an action-romance, not a common genre in the South African cinema, but they pulled it off and then some. A trap that many SA films fall in is rehashing the same-old Hollywood elements for local productions, by Hard To Get felt truly original and just had a good script mostly void of clichés.

And well done to the actors. The chemistry between Pallance Dladla (TK) and Thishiwe Ziqubu (Skiets) held real authenticity and power, besides the fact that they are candy for the eyes. But I have to say Ziqubu really outshone. Skiets is not an easy role to play, especially the character’s many dimensions and it is refreshing to watch her save TK’s ass a few times (but who wouldn’t want to save that handsome ass?).

The two villains played by Makoe and Paka Zwedala could give the devil a run for his money, with Makoe’s character providing some comic relief, but don’t let that you think he is some clown. He will gut you where you stand. Zwedala’s villainy was more subtle, but when his true colours are revealed you disdain every word he says.

My one criticism would be the amount of slo-mo sequences. So. Many. After they bazillionth one it felt weird when the movies’ speed went back to normal. It was like a child who just got a new toy and clearly the director wanted to get as much out of it as possible. Pretty as it was, it did slow down the pace of the movie unnecessarily, but at least it did make up for it with an awesome soundtrack to the slow spinning wheels of the drifting Gusheshe (now that would have made a great title).

If there is a local movie to support at the cinemas, it is this one. Please go throw your money at them, if not only for your own movie-pleasure, but to show South African movie producers that this is what we want and what we deserve. If you leave this movie not amped to punch someone in the face for love, then you went to the wrong movie theatre.