2008-12-12 12:39
What it's about:

Lucky Kunene (Rapulana Seiphemo) is a poor boy from Soweto who dreams of being rich and successful. He's accepted into university, but cannot afford the fees, so he turns to stealing cars for hardened gangster Nazareth (Jeffrey Sekele). After he's almost arrested, he flees to Johannesburg and runs a taxi business with his childhood friend Zakes (Motlatsi Mahloko). Living in a slum block, they form a tenants association and withhold rent until the unscrupulous landlord tends to the building. Amazed by the success of their plan, they expand it to seize other buildings and enterprises, attracting attention from other crime lords and the police which ultimately leads to a brutal gang war. What we thought of it:

It's refreshing to watch a South African movie that's able to get over nationality and deliver an engrossing story that anyone can enjoy. Name dropping Scarface (1983) and City of God (2002) in the press release might have been a bit ambitious as Jerusalema is by no means perfect, but it does stand up favourably against many international films within the crime/thriller genre.

Following roughly the same formula as City of God, Jerusalema kicks off in present day and then swiftly flashes back to Lucky's youth, and the choices he made. The play off between his humble family life and his lofty aspirations make for compelling viewing, given how common this situation must be in SA today.

For the young Lucky, violent crime is a game until people around him die, and for a while he goes straight. A few years of hardship later, he's breaking the law again. Like Nazareth's comment about hijacking being "affirmative repossession", crime is viewed as the smart alternative to poorly paid, back-breaking labour and well within the rights of the people who are still waiting for upliftment after the promises of 1994.The grown up Lucky is wiser, but the risks he takes are far greater and inevitably have far worse consequences.

Rapulana Seiphemo portrays a flawed yet complex man, still clinging to the dreams of his youth while navigating the harsh world of poverty and crime. Both his triumphs and his pain are real, yet he always operates with a certain detachment that makes even his most reckless endeavours credible.

The supporting cast do well, for the most part, with Jeffrey Sekele being sufficiently brutal and hate-filled as the ex-ANC apartheid freedom fighter. Robert Hobbs must take credit for making the hilariously named ex-apartheid cop, Blackie Swart, a character who is immediately unlikable, yet elicits sympathy for the massive challenges he faces.

The downside of Jerusalema is that it drags from time to time and could easily have been 30 minutes shorter. Without the budget of bigger gangster movies, it's not quite as slick or action packed as anything by Quentin Tarantino or Guy Ritchie, but it's certainly of a superior quality to many other SA films of the recent past.

Despite the flaws, I would recommend all South Africans watch Jerusalema, just to see that this country can produce an entertaining film that isn't an embarrassing comedy aimed at white teenagers. Hopefully Jerusalema is just the first entry in a new chapter of SA cinema. - Ivan Sadler

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A young boy from Soweto turns to a life of crime and becomes the leader of a gang that illegally seizes tenement blocks.

lusanda 2008/08/29 12:30 PM
Go SOUTH AFRICA for home pictures It give me the picture of the strugle and how is the town ship looks like
lusanda 2008/08/29 12:31 PM
Go SOUTH AFRICA for home pictures It give me the picture of the strugle and how is the town ship looks like
thabang 2008/08/29 3:24 PM
jerusalem jerusalem
Fezie 2008/09/01 7:27 AM
Jerusalema I thought the movie was brilliant, not dissapointing at all. It made me realise that crime in South Africa is everyone's problem and not just for the poor, we all should take responsibility in fighting crime and do our bit. The comment about post 1994 and people thinking that they are entitled to certian things because of the struggle was a real eye opener for me and the reality we are facing in SA.
Mindlo 2008/09/02 1:49 PM
I am proud Maponya mall yesterday, the turnout was nice. Nice movie and the pacing was excellent...
siphiwe 2008/09/02 3:19 PM
jerusalem it got my attention and um really looking forward to seeing it
Andysor 2008/09/03 1:54 AM
A good start It's refreshing to finally see a competently made local flick that aims to entertain the locals rather than scoop awards at foreign film festivals with deeply serious afro-pessimistic themes. I agree with the reviewer: generally good and entertaining but drags a bit, especially towards the second half, some uninspired cinematography, some poor acting (especially from the female love interest). BUT, the problem with the SA movie going public is that we compare everything local to Hollywood. I assume this was made on a very limited budget and with pretty inexperienced people so it cannot possibly come close to matching those films for production values. This film should be judged on its accomplishments taking into account the restrictions, and it does very well. Jerusalema is an entertaining film with plenty of local content and in-jokes and I believe it is important to support the local film industry to allow more true SA films to be made.
Sorina 2008/09/10 9:50 AM
I am humbled I thought this was excellent. Apart from the fact that it does portray SA authentically, it also made me feel. Which, in my humble opinion, is what makes good movies great. I cried for the young Lucky, and was angry at Nazareth. Well done, hope to see many more movies like this.
maboyana 2008/09/11 6:12 PM
Go Mzansi This is what we want to c, sharing with other people more of what is happening in SA.
ADRIAAN 2008/09/12 5:36 PM
S.A is getting there such movies as morote wa tsotsi, tsotsi and jerusalema are uplifting the spirit of mzasi's life, i like,like and like big up mzasi
grant aubin 2008/09/14 12:03 PM
very cool This was an extremely exciting and entertaining film that certainly portrays South Africa authentically. I loved the cool and charismatic anti-hero at its core (after De Niro's Neil in Heat, Lucky is one of the most sympathetic onscreen criminals I've come across in a long while) and thought the acting was terrific. Major kudus to the director, writers, producer, cast and crew. Please Mr Ziman can we have some more? The ending, after all, leaves room for a sequel. PS. Having noticed the little nods to Michael Mann's classic, Heat, I have to wonder if the ending was also a homage; Neil's demise breaks my heart every time I watch the movie. Then again, I generally cheer for the bad guys. Thanks again for a very cool movie.
Precious 2008/09/15 2:26 PM
Fantastic Great movie indeed, big up to the production crew we should never 4get that 4 every good movie there's behind the scene people....Great job very well presented
Thando 2008/09/15 2:50 PM
Great talent It was a great movie. We laughed, cried and applauded. Many thanks to everyone involved. I am rather disappointed at how the movie is circulated though. It’s not showing anywhere in Centurion or Cresta for that matter. We were packed at Sterland, people other even sitting on the floor.
Thando 2008/09/15 2:50 PM
Great talent It was a great movie. We laughed, cried and applauded. Many thanks to everyone involved. I am rather disappointed at how the movie is circulated though. It’s not showing anywhere in Centurion or Cresta for that matter. We were packed at Sterland, people other even sitting on the floor.
THE BOSS 2008/09/18 9:02 AM
Lona 2008/09/18 10:08 AM
Local is lekker Saw the movie yesterday and I loved it... you can't help but like lucky. Rapulana did a great job as the lead. Local cinemas should play their part in distribution of local movies as they are always available at certain cinema's and for short periods of time!!
Zk 2008/09/18 3:21 PM
Wonderful I've seen 2 movies this year that I consider to be brilliant, The Dark Knight and Jerusalema. This movie is a brilliant advert for South African film, the story is believable and the acting is beautiful. Rapulana is the man, he was brilliant in his little role in Tsotsi and he basically takes over in this movie.
truthrazor 2008/09/20 2:54 PM
Gud movie we have for so long not been able to tell the world of our own tales and legends ( be political or street) the movie offers insight of ghetto gansterism from our own experiences and living through the memories of street legends. so from me a 10/10. Keep telling the South African story
Altino 2008/09/25 7:38 AM
Jerusalema I never watch the movie but clearly SA are heading somewhere in the movie business and I personaly think it's wonderfull and perfection takes time, thats why most of us fail because we are bound 2 quick success which is wrong...A lot of SA support will help in terms of growing within this business. I will make time 2 watch the movie and comment there after but even if it doesn't meet the minimum benchmark I would still give it 10/10. Step aside America here comes SA
Wan A. B. A. Critic 2008/09/25 8:19 AM
What a story! Exceptional storytelling skills are beginning to come to the fore. The acting was brilliant, as always, we have finally moved from the mechanical perspective of acting and are beginning to see actors BECOME their roles. Rapulana is expectional, so is the young "Lucky Kunene". The budget is not quite there yet, there was a lot of cross-timeline conflicts in terms of technology and advances, but this is a minor detail. The DOP didn't add his/her "touch" to the flick, and the camera-work was simply that... work, not art. Overall, for me... It is SA authentically
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