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  • When I tuned into this movie, expecting another rehash of the Holocaust, I was not prepared for what came next. The beginning of the film, masterfully depicted as an action sequence, was grippingly realistic as a faction of South Afrikaaners (c. 1993) move in to slaughter as many residents of a black township as they can. They are shockingly met by an equally fervent group of black urban guerrillas who, almost to a man, slaughter them. One survivor is brutally massacred in a pyre of gasoline. Another seeks sanctuary in a black church and this is where the story really begins.

    The portrayal of two equally poisonous hatreds bursts from the screen and, slowly, we see bits and pieces of ourselves in their pitiable yet sadly understandable biases, deeply rooted in decades of oppression, resentment and bitterness. As different individuals vent on their personal histories and resulting convictions, the relentlessly ensuing tale of mindless rationalization, family history, and, perhaps, ultimate salvation, is as moving as anything I have ever witnessed on the screen; a metamorphosis as compelling as it is surprising.

    I can't believe that there is someone out there who hasn't experienced at least some of the moral dichotomies and quandaries that this film so exquisitely portrays.

    Sit back, ponder, and be amazed at this movie.
  • gilbertmyers1 July 2006
    This movie, based on a true story of Gerrit Wolfaardt, is one of the best films I've seen on race relations in South Africa; a very good history lesson of the turmoil of 80's South Africa. I put it in on the scale of American History X as far as it's depiction of how a young man can get seduced by the Aryan doctrine and how the "certain" segments of the Christian church taught a false doctrine regarding race to justify an injustice.

    It's strong message of forgiveness and redemption, is one of rarity in films today. The violence is well done as to show the severity of Gerrit's crimes and greatness of his transformation.

    One word about Jan Ellis who played Gerrit Wolfaardt. He carries you through the darkness of Gerrit's beginnings to his enlightened transformation. He went to some dark places as an actor and is to be commended on his performance.

    Another standout performance was that of Mpho Lovinga who plays Moses Moremi, one victim of Gerrit's crimes. He was able to pull from some places of pain that really touched you as you watched his performance.

    Very good movie to show the teens.
  • I know Gerrit. He presently lives in the U.S. This film is based on events in the lives of both Gerrit and Celeste Wolfaardt. It's a remarkable story. It inspired me to read "Cry, Beloved Country." The film is well-produced. The music is beautiful.

    The story is told in flashbacks. You learn the stories of a white racist South African (Gerrit) and a black South African (Moses). Their lives intersect violently. The ending is not typical Hollywood -- it's unusually realistic and ends on a note that encourages you to think about the characters and the themes.

    Be sure to watch through the credits -- you'll get to see footage of Gerrit in real life.
  • If you are looking for a phony Hollywood action movie, this won't be one for you. If the Truth is what you seek, rent or buy this. From a true story, the movie attempts to capture the heart of what was/is happening in South Africa (and many other places).

    For historical knowledge, this rates up there with stories such as "The Pianist," "Schindler's List" or "Nuremberg." Millions of people today have no clue what apartheid is or that it even exists. This movie may help them learn, and may even help them dig deeper.
  • bmix4 December 2001
    This is a great film about transformation of the heart. It skillfully tells the true story of one man's journey from utter hatred to love - not just tolerance.

    John Kani and Jan Ellis are very convincing in their title roles. Any violence is needed to be true to the story. The music is awesome - Whoever scored it should be applauded.

    I'm looking forward to seeing this movie in theatres and rental outlets. I'll be recommending it to all my friends. In a time where racial tension is high, this film gives a wonderful solution - forgiveness.

    A must-see!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    ***SLIGHT SPOILERS*** This film, shot in South Africa, is a powerful true story of how the life of a white Afrikaaner, well on his way to becoming a paramilitary assassin, was turned around by a woman and two books. Gerrit is the grandson of a Boer shot by the British at the beginning of the 20th century for his guerilla warfare against British rule in South Africa. The boy grows up nurtured by tales of his grandfather's martyrdom, the racist teachings of family and church, and his admiration for Hitler's MEIN KAMPF. He shares with a politician and a rogue police officer his own version of the Final Solution that will rid S.A. of all blacks and Jews. Then at college he meets Celeste, who challenges him to read the book her literature class is studying, Alan Paton's CRY THE BELOVED COUNTRY. Gerrit rejects the notion, calling it "Commie rubbish." She gives it to him anyway, and then tricks him into accompanying herself and a friend on a visit to a black church whose pastor is dedicated to racial reconciliation. Gerrit refuses to shake hands with the pastor, but the latter unsettles him--first by refusing to be put off by Gerrit's insulting manner, and then by quoting a line from the Bible, "God has made of one blood all nations." When Gerrit parrots what he's been taught, that the Bible says that blacks have no souls, and thus could not go to heaven, the pastor challenges him to show him the passage. He can't, of course, and this leads the boy to the college library where even with a concordance, he cannot find the passage. This, and many other incidents, is all told in flashbacks by an older Gerrit and his wife. They are at a church meeting when a white terrorist rushes into the church just ahead of a vigilante group of blacks out to kill him. Still with burnt cork on his face, the white is the lone survivor of a band of terrorists who had roared through the black township spraying bullets into the bodies of people standing and sitting outside their shacks. The white extremists had not realized that a group of black guerilla fighters were on hand, the latter grabbing their guns and blasting the car so that only two attackers survived--one whom the mob seized and set afire with a tire pinning down his arms, and the other, who has fled to the church. The pastor refuses to turn over the terrorist, but does agree to allow the angry mob to enter the church, if they will leave their weapons outside. It is then that the pastor asks Gerrit to tell his story so that the mob will see that not all whites are hopelessly evil, but can change. There are surprises ahead in the story, and Gerrit does not get to finish his story, so filled with hostility are his skeptical listeners. I loved the way that the script worked in one of my favorite novels, and how it shows that the Bible can be twisted and also used to get at truth. The characters are not card-board cutouts, but fallible human beings seeking justice and vengeance--and eventually, reconciliation. The film is being shown on various PBS station during February, and then possibly will be released to theaters. It's not to be missed. I often include in my VISUAL PARABLES magazine a film discussion guide, so I can hardly wait for this one to be released on video.
  • Final Solution is a powerful christian film that shows the hate between the black and whites that was present in the days of apartheid. It shows how this hate was contrived and was groomed from generation to generation. Jan Ellis was taught that a black man was a plague. He was raised to be that way.

    Then he meets a man who is on the opposite side of his beliefs, Pastor Lekota. will he change his ways?. The film is a powerful movie that shows the perceptions the different races had for one another, it shows these perceptions with quite a lot of accuracy. The movie shows the world of how apartheid affected the psyche of blacks and whites.

    This is a great film that everyone should watch.
  • The subject of this movie is disturbing. How could some otherwise intelligent, religious, hard-working, and sincere White Afrikaaners treat the native Blacks so cruelly for so long?

    The movie answers this question, and also explains how some Afrikaaners are changing in a positive way.
  • "No one nation should be complainant, prosecutor and judge" (Nelson Mandela, 1997)

    While seeing the film by Krusen, those profound words, said by the South African icon politician and president, came to my mind and intensely touched my heart. Although the words seem to refer in majority to political relations, they interestingly resemble the entire content of FINAL SOLUTION...

    The film does not ring the bell to the contemporary movie buffs who always look for the newest blockbusters; the director's name is hardly familiar to people; the title does not indicate much to average movie goers... history buffs will probably be led to Hitler's persecutions of the Jewish people in Nazi monstrosity; however, that is not exactly the case. As a matter of fact, no number one movie at the box office; yet, a sort of film that is a true pearl at the heartfelt experience.

    Set at Cape Town, South Africa in the last years of the old system, FINAL SOLUTION depicts the difficult political and social situation that the country was facing at the time. Although this situation appears to be in the background for the true story, it influences everything and everybody. The haunt of Apartheid, the system of legal racial segregation, is still present and results in brutal bloody acts committed onto the innocent black people. Hatred and prejudice is everywhere stepping in various social fields. The true incarnation of this poisonous attitude...

    ...WAS the leading character, a Saul/Paul-like figure whose strange life events appear to be similarly beyond contemporary comprehension. These events are based on the true character...his name is Gerrit Wolfaardt (Jan Ellis). Before we get to know his youth and the destructive ideals we was raised in, we see him in atonement as a man who has understood the gist of being born again. His metamorphosis from a young, indoctrinated man absorbed by Hitler's MEIN KAMPF and blinded by prejudice into a free soul touched by Paton's CRY THE BELOVED COUNTRY and overwhelmed by the power of love is the major theme of the film, something that will stay with viewers for good. Why? Let me refer to the words of the director:

    "What I really wanted was to find someone like Saul of Tarsus, who was a persecutor who transformed himself and became the Apostle Paul," Krusen said. "I wanted that kind of metamorphosis." And we can say that the director managed to achieve this goal. The transformation is extremely powerful and the contrast between "Saul" and "Paul" is depicted realistically and dramatically. There are two aspects that clearly led the young man to broader perceptions: first, the woman whom he fell in love with, Celeste (Liezel Van Der Merwe); second, the genuine search for the truth, for the real biblical quotations. There are scenes that touched me immensely: Gerrit observes Celeste teaching...she is a teacher who follows the supreme ideal - love. That is odd if not ridiculous for a man so narcissistic and so blinded in glorifying his own race. Black kids are so vital, so intelligent, so is it possible that they are 'inferior creatures'? (the "forbidden" thought absorbs his mind). So far, he was roused by blood on his hands, the blood of innocent Moses beat brutally because of the different color of his skin. So far, he has seen black people as creatures who have no right to dream, they are only to obey their masters. His perception is directed towards the Book of Books. He seeks the truth...he chooses some wrong places...meets some wrong people...yet, he does not give up this profound search...until he is ready for the tears of catharsis, for the open heart towards Amazing Grace.

    The individual story of Gerrit beautifully contributes to the accurate analysis of the nation, of historical events, of social problems to overcome. The director said that he had made the film for South Africa with the right analysis of her situation. However, this level of individual change touches viewers universally. Being based upon the biblical image, it refers to the very gist where Saul becomes Paul and it is so unreal at first, yet, a miracle in human eyes.

    The performances are very well crafted...I liked the performances of Jan Ellis, Mpho Lovinga, John Kani. Of course, the cast, though talented, are not famous. In that case, the whole film becomes more genuine because it is not the names that appear in superior positions but simple human hearts. The credits at the end become more authentic thanks to the footage of real Gerrit Wolfaardt and facts about his later life and actions.

    A must see movie! A feast for the soul! A story that touched the most profound dreams of human heart, dreams that, perhaps, are not discovered by many people; yet dreams that constantly need to be proclaimed - foremost, a dream about VICTORY of reconciliation over revenge, VICTORY of Love over hatred where all nations walk hand in hand in joyful giving and utopia but reality, such a spiritual island where FINAL SOLUTION becomes RECONCILIATION. Jesus surely was not black, but he was not white either...He must have looked like many People in his land, in his earthly Nation...

    The fact that this spiritual aspect constitutes a core idea in the movie is expressed in the following words of the director where he seems to explain his main goal. Let me end my review with these words which allow you to capture the message:

    "It's my own way of saying that there is a way forward. There is a way to overcome differences. And the way is reconciliation." (Chris Krusen)