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Running Time:
1 hour, 34 minutes

Rating: R Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Adult.

Rating Explanation:
for language and some strong violent content

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
A riveting study of of redemption and human decency that's also an unforgettably gritty portrait of ghetto life in contemporary South Africa.

Additional Info:
DVD Features: Alternate endings with optional commentary by screenwriter and director Gavin Hood; Deleted scenes with optional commentary by Gavin Hood; The Making of Tsotsi; Feature commentary with Gavin Hood; Director's short film the Storekeeper.

Tsotsi – which means ‘hoodlum’ in the street patois of the Johannesburg townships is how the main character, played by Presley Chweneyagae, is known to his friends. Tsotsi’s gang of younthful thugs include the amiable Aap (Kenneth Nkosi), the conscienceless Butcher (Zenzo Ngqobe), and Boston (Mothusi Magano) a student-teacher who's become an alcoholic.

They survive by commiting violent muggings and robberies, searching for rich train passengers who unwisely display their wealth. After a particularly gruesome robbery/murder, Boston vomits violently, but he defends his sensitivity against the others’ in a drunken, bitter speech. Turning his anger and self-loathing onto Tsotsi he taunts him with questions about his parents, and his real name that Tsotsi is unable to answer. Confused by the sudden realization that he knows nothing about himself, Tsotsi beats Boston savagely and runs off into the rainy Johannesburg night.

After shivering under a tree for some time, Tsotsi steals a car unaware that there is a baby in the back. During the next few days Tsotsi fumbles in his ignorance about how to care for the baby, causing him to dredge up memories of his childhood that have been buried deep inside. Tsotsi finally takes the boy home and tries to care for him, going so far as to force Miriam (Terry Pheto), a single mother who lives nearby, to even nurse the baby. Soon his unconcerned bravado begins to dissipate, revealing his basic humanity.

Presley Chwenayagae gives an intensely riveting performance as does the gracefully serene Terry Pheto. Rapulana Seiphemo and Nambitha Mpumlwana as the baby’s bereft parents are heart-wrenching. Based on the novel by noted playwright Athol Fugard ('Master Harold'... and the Boys), and directed by Gavin Hood, this heartwarming story of redemption is as compelling as any movie you've seen in a very long time.

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