Tuesday, 24 December 2013
DIRECTOR: Sean Else
CAST: Steve Hofmeyr, Lianie May, Bok van Blerk, Vaughan Gardiner, Karlien van Jaarsveld, Jay du Plesses
CLASSIFICATION: 13V L
RUNNING TIME: 120 minutes
This Afrikaans movie succeeds as an extended music video but misses an opportunity to tell a good story. Lavishly produced, it boasts an intriguing cast and endless possibilities.
Set in the Orange Free State countryside, the film gives another spin to farm murders which has just enough of a touch of reality to send a shiver down your spine.
In this little reality, a mega-lomaniac businessman named Mike Ferreira (Hofmeyr) is buying up farmland and killing the farmers who oppose him.
While the opening sequence has its naff fight moments, it also has Paul Luckhoff as Frik de Klerk, holding up a bank, desperate to expose Ferreira’s wrongdoings.
Ferreira, also the security team boss, threatens Frik’s son, so he backs down and on the surface, the day has been saved.
Just as matters are about to either sink into melodrama or hook you with a genuinely real moment, Hofmeyr bursts out into song.
So, it’s a musical.
Ferreira threatens Riana van Niekerk (May) next, but she’s having none of that and intro-duces the film’s subplot when she forbids her younger brother to see Ferreira’s daughter.
Riana places an advert for a farm security manager. Enter Bok van Blerk as ex-special ops type Dirk Pretorius, who vowed he’d never step on a farm again, but well, he’s desperate for the cash.
He pitches up late, there’s another contender for the job and it all goes Hollywood pear-shaped from here.
Every time things are about to get interesting, the actors burst into song, totally messing up the rhythm of the film.
Instead of furthering the plot, the songs simply reprise the last five minutes of whatever preceded it, just in case you weren’t paying attention.
We already know May, Van Blerk and Hofmeyr can sing, so why they aren’t simply allowed to emote, heaven alone knows.
What’s surprising is, it would seem that with the right direction May and Van Blerk can act. She does sweet and sparky while he makes for an engaging anti-hero. And of course, we know Hofmeyr does a meaty villain.
Karlien van Jaarsveld and Vaughan Gardiner are a bit old to be playing high school kids, but they’re cute so it kind of works.
Hanna Grobler’s bitchy stepmom is fun and other seasoned Afrikaans professionals pop up in unexpected places.
Unfortunately all you’re going to learn from this musical is that Afrikaners are uncomfortable with emotion and would rather break out in song than engage. Also, apparently Afrikaner boeremeisies run around wearing pristine white cotton dresses and literally pray for Van Blerk to save them. Which, it seems, is an option.
If you liked… Jakhalsdans or Liefling… you will like this.