WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
Thys and Trix are siblings and eager yet helpless police officers. Their constant feud results in their expulsion after it causes yet another embarrassment for the police service. Detective Solomons is investigating the activities of a crime syndicate in an exclusive golf estate outside Mossel Bay. Due to their ‘vanilla’ appearance, Thys and Trix are singled out for the first time as the most competent team to lead an investigation. However, the fact that they must pretend to be a married couple to make the investigation credible, complicates the situation. Solomons has to accompany them, but isn’t happy that he’ll be their butler.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
If you think Afrikaans buddy-cop comedy, your mind is going to first think horrible slapstick that is so overdone it’ll just leave the audience rolling their eyes. Thys & Trix, however, not only delivers on the laughs, but also a clever detective story that keeps you wondering the whole way throughout.
Director Quentin Krog is fast becoming a favourite filmmaker, and his versatility of doing this kind of comedy after the resounding success of drama Ballade vir ‘n Enkeling proves once again that he’s a big boon to the South African film industry.
Working in the police force together can be tough for brother and sister Thys (Bouwer Bosch) and Trix (Leandie du Randt), where their constant bickering gets in the way of their work. Both suddenly land up on a big case when they go undercover with their superior Detective Solomons (Brendon Daniels) to investigate a country estate that might be a front for smuggling drugs into South Africa.
Watching them on-screen, you would never realise that wife-and-husband acting team Leanie du Randt and Bouwer Bosch are actually married in real life. They pull off the family dynamics brilliantly and good on the filmmakers on not making the characters romantic partners. Many of the jokes and punch of the plot comes from their sibling rivalry – something that’s relatable to anyone with brothers and sisters – but it’s also tethered to a heartfelt message about sticking with family and that everyone can contribute in their way – even if they appear to be complete morons.
I am also impressed with co-writers Krog and Frannie van der Walt for not making the people of colour invisible, which so often happens when your target audience is largely white. The story is very aware of its predominantly white cast, but it’s incorporated into the story where Thys and Trix are chosen for the mission literally because they can blend in at a country estate in Cape Town, and the writers go to great pains to point out this disparity.
Daniels is one of my favourite SA actors, and his character along with the police heads sufficiently call out this through his resistance at going undercover as the butler. The filmmakers’ understanding of this dynamic is commendable, alongside their depiction of the two gay characters in the film, which at first may seem very stereotypical but they make up for it near the end of the film.
As for the tenants of the estate, a real place that is one of the sponsors of the film and proves that you can do film product placement without killing your story, they were all quite spectacular, even if it will take you a while to get used to seeing Ivan Zimmerman from Egoli days playing some free-spirited husband with an extremely liberal view of trying everything. He plays alongside another Egoli-veteran Chanelle de Jager and they were my second favourite couple after Charlie Bouguenon and Deon Coetzee. These two were hilarious, but as I said their at-first stereotypical depiction of two gay men turn into well-written characters that steal the show. Zak Hendriks as the loud-mouth alpha male does his usual intense acting that this time fits with the character and Dorette Potgieter, also from Egoli fame, matches his intensity as his scary wife.
Thys & Trix is a really good laugh for the younger Afrikaans generation, but might seem a little out there for the older audience that doesn’t like to mix their taal. Although it has an element of slapstick, it also proves that Afrikaners can have comedy without resorting to Leon Schuster-esque shenanigans that have lost its appeal in this decade.
WATCH THE TRAILER HERE: