`Tsotsi': compelling look at thug's redemption

Review B


Some worthy pictures - Syriana being an example - work better the second time, which doesn't help you the first time, but there it is. Other films do their jobs effectively, owing more to reasons of blunt narrative force than of distinctive filmmaking, paying off less well on a repeat visit.

Tsotsi, this year's foreign-language Academy Award winner, is a film to see once. Its mixture of grit and corniness leaves a bittersweet aftertaste. All the same, you're shaken up by what happens even as you're made aware of certain melodramatic methods employed - menacing, percussive music, slow zooms (great paradoxical moviemaking parlance there) designed to jack up the tension.

Tsotsi (Miramax) Starring Presley Chweneyagae, Terry Pheto, Mothusi Magano, Kenneth Nkosi, Zenzo Ngqobe. Directed by Gavin Hood. Rated R. Time 94 minutes.

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