Skeem

2011-10-31 12:19
 
What it's about:

Halfway home from a drug-sale in Joburg, two wannabe gangsters run into trouble when their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Forced to spend the night at a creepy old holiday resort, their problems escalate when, unpacking the car, their box of cash splits open, spilling a million bucks in eye-catching bundles all over the driveway. They scoop it up, head inside and slam the door, but the damage is done. Greedy eyes have spotted the cash, and in five neighbouring chalets, people begin to skeem.

What we thought:


It will be interesting to see how Skeem, a ribald new comedy from writer-director Tim Greene, will fit into the South African comedy landscape. It boasts an impressive line-up of, if not well-known, then certainly recognisable faces from the small and big screen, while introducing a few new ones as well.

Skeem is a fish-in-a-barrel piece of farce that's doesn't really go so low as to call its brand of comedy as the toilet variety, nor does it aim particularly high. What it does is create a situation rife with possibilities for insanity by forcing a motley crew of people, from all walks of South African life, to spend the night at a holiday resort while all 'skeeming' to steal the huge bundles of cash that two hapless and desperate gangsters (played by Wandile Molebatsi and Kurt Schoenraad) accidentally expose to dozens of greedy and prying eyes.

There's Lucas, played by Kenneth Nkosi, who is on holiday with his wife and young son. In the chalet just across from his is a group of women on a hen's night, celebrating (or rather commiserating over) the upcoming nuptials of Jackie (Casey B. Dolan) who is set to marry a man she doesn't really love. Jackie thinks the money will get her out of her marriage commitment but her greed has to contend with that of Afrikaans family man Drikus (Grant Swanby) and his obnoxious wife, a trigger-happy old man and his two sons, as well as the stoner caretakers of the complex.

Unbeknownst to any of them is the presence of two hardcore gangsters just outside the gates of the resort, and yet another hitman named Mung (played with stuttering relish by Terence Bridgett) is on his way there to claim the money.

Skeem, whose action takes place over the course of one night, really is as tumultuous as it sounds but works slickly enough to make the set-ups work and the comedy flow freely. Though the cast of characters are varied and numerous, Greene is able to sketch them each out clearly enough to lend a sense of authenticity to their extreme reactions when faced with the prospect of easy money. Even tiny roles, like that of Drikus' stoute pyromaniac son, adds to the colour and mayhem of the plot.

However, as the plot gets ever more convoluted and dawn begins to break, Greene backs his characters into a corner. How he chooses to get them all out of this precarious situation may not be to everyone's taste, and it certainly sours the mood of what had been a fun and light-hearted caper until those ridiculous final 10 minutes.

That aside, Skeem succeeds as a very funny, uniquely South African comedy. What it lacks in technical prowess it certainly makes up for in guts and guffaws. This is some good, dirty fun.


A who's-who of South African stage and screen come to the party in a raucous and dirty-fun tale of greed and opportunism.
Read more on:    kenneth nkosi  |  review  |  movies  |  south african film

DeonL 2011/11/02 9:22 AM
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It was a great movie, laughed the whole time.
Kosie die Konstabel 2011/11/02 12:50 PM
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@DeonL: Out of the closet yet?
Kosie die Konstabel 2011/11/02 12:50 PM
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@DeonL: Out of the closet yet?
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