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Nothing for Mahala

2013-10-04 09:10
Nothing for Mahala
What it's about:

Axe Gumede is all about the Benjamins and the Randelas. An up-and-coming property agent, he is desperate to make his mark in life and believes that one has to spend money to make it. The only problem is that he’s spending a lot more than he’s making; driving the flashy car and trying to live up to the Motsepes. This extravagant lifestyle gets him into trouble with loan sharks and, through a series of mishaps, with the law.

His fast-paced career is rudely interrupted when he gets sentenced to 200 hours of community service at nursing home. There, he meets and gets assigned to Hendrik, a grumpy old man who spent his life chasing money and who now finds himself miserable and alone. Their story is a comic clash of cultures spiced up with hard-hitting life lessons.

What we thought:

Nothing for Mahala is a project of media NGO Heartlines and is  a surprisingly good quality production – something which is mostly lacking in movies aiming to promote values in communities. You know, the kind of movies they show at school during Life Orientation that makes you cringe rather than actually teach you anything.

With a light-hearted plot line and colourful personalities, sprinkled with some shady characters, the movie has no pretensions about trying to be a masterpiece or award-winning movie. It shows you that there are more important things in life than chasing money and a glamorous life and that’s what Heartlines productions are all about.

The main character Axe Gumede, played by Thapelo Mokoena, is a shrewd wannabe-rich man that will do almost anything to close a deal, but lives way above his means which leads to some loan shark trouble. Despite his immoral compass, you can’t help rooting for him as the actor’s own charm oozes into that of Axe.

The chemistry between Mokoena and his enemy-turned-friend Marius Weyers, who plays the mean old Hendrik, is quite brilliant and they play off each other’s comedic timing quite well. It’s not laugh-off-your-ass funny, but it gets a few giggles out of you.

One of the bizarre decisions of the movie is the characterisation and actor choice for the two loan shark tsotsis. They don’t really fit into the plot very well and seems more like an afterthought than a well-thought out addition to Axe’s many antagonists.

And Casper de Vries kitted out in gangster threads is about as intimidating as a hamster. He would have been better suited to play out his Oom Kallie character in the old age home.

Although it uses clichéd movie devices and looks like most other comedies where a man chasing money realises there’s more to life, Nothing for Mahala is a quality story-with-a-message movie and hopefully Heartlines will continue with this trend. Future Life Orientation pupils will surely thank you.

Nothing for Mahala is a feel good movie that does exactly what it sets out to do.

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