City Press reviews The Tribe

2017-03-19 06:02

Johannesburg - When Terry Pheto’s character, Laura, leaves Smanga, portrayed by Charlie Vundla, for another man, Smanga descends into nihilistic self-destruction. But even drinking, porn, pills, sex workers and pot aren’t making him feel better.

By chance he runs into an old high school friend Jon (Louis Roux), a down-on-his-luck, self-professed life coach whose goofy optimism is the antidote to Smanga’s acerbic introversion. Jon takes up residence in Smanga’s house and even seems to help pull the scorned husband out of his funk, but things start getting complicated when Laura returns.

Vundla, known for his portraits of black masculinity in films such as Friends in Need and How to Steal 2 Million, delves into the psyche of a man cheated on. The self-doubt, the rage, the impotence, the feeling of inferiority – Smanga carries it all in the scowl of his face.

Luckily, Vundla injects a surprising amount of humour into this drama to alleviate the viewer from the pensive drinking and bouts of rage. Also directing, the New York-born Vundla said at Thursday’s premiere at Nu Metro Hyde Park that he made this small-budget production “for the love of cinema”, and this love is obvious in the careful way he’s captured life in suburbia, and what happens when the perfect, white-picket fence, middle class dream falls apart. With the sounds of hadedahs, a helicopter flying overhead, dogs barking, the click of a branch short-circuiting an electric fence, birds, and of course car alarms – the everyday Joburg neighbourhood is deftly captured.

While The Tribe ticks the boxes purely on its cinematic merits, viewers who come to a movie as consumers who want to be entertained, provoked or thrilled might find this lacking. There simply isn’t enough going on onscreen, and you might find yourself squirming in your seat a few times.

Pheto doesn’t get enough screen time, and seems more like a plot device than a fully formed person. Nevertheless, the film offers a fresh slice-of-life look at marriage woes, infidelity, middle class problems and flawed personalities.

Local film enthusiasts will love it.

Watch the trailer here:

Read more on:    terry pheto  |  movies

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