23 December 2005 | therealdocmartin
Powerful, cathartic and beautiful!
Absolutely magnificent! Unlike many South African films, all the elements merge perfectly to create something hauntingly familiar and deeply emotional. The photography, script, acting, symbolism and historical detail are wonderfully accurate. An added bonus for South Africans is the colourful language and genuine portrayals of characters from the West Coast fishing community, black urban middle class and white thirty-something Capetonians. The mannerisms, slang and expletives are heard every day on the streets but very rarely make it to the big screen.
Overseas audiences might not be familiar with all the details but simple internet searches will reveal that the majority of the facts that the film is based on are indeed real. *SPOILERS* Although no-one says it directly it is obvious that Arnold Vosloo's character is based on Dirk Coetzee the leader of a government 'assassination squad'. The torture methods described in the movie (including the infamous 'wet bag' method) are all real and documented in evidence given to the TRC. Many suspects were interrogated on a farm known as 'Vlakplaas' which was also obliquely referred to in the film. The issue of torture and it's deployment in a 'war on terror' have never been more relevant.
This film is truly one of the best films to come out of post apartheid South Africa and I hope it reaches a wide international audience.