Hijack Stories review

Don't be fooled by its cash-free appearance. Chunky characterisation and a strong strand of bleak humour successfully lift Oliver Schmitz's small-scale South African drama out of the low-budget ghetto.

Following a struggling wannabe actor (Tony Kgoroge), it centres around his attempts to "Method" his way into a telly part as a township gangster by hanging out with real-life township gangsters. Told with a sly, gentle wit that neatly counterpoints the continual threat of brutal violence, it also benefits from a refreshing absence of cloying pity for the teen thugs it features.

If there are amoral wasters pissing their lives away here, then they're the producers and directors of the TV show, who hypocritically damn the violence of the township lifestyle while simultaneously using it to sell their telly pap. Schmitz may slap them about a little bit too blatantly at times, but the film's ironic punchline is still a delicious expectation-mangling moment. Forget Rainbow Nation propaganda: this is the kind of film the modern South Africa really needs.

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