Hoener met die Rooi Skoene

2017-01-27 07:35

What it's about:

It was a dark and stormy night. Bonnie van der Byl, a receptionist at the internationally renowned De Waal Theatrical Agency, is working late, when she discovers the body of her boss—the successful, but not-as-popular Mossel Bay businessman, Du Toit de Waal—with a dagger on his back. Bonnie calls the police and Constable Mickey Mentz is assigned to the case. Mentz finds himself thrown in a web of secrets and lies, as another victim is also found with a stab wound in the back. Bonnie decides to compete with the constable, as self-appointend amateur sleuth.

What we thought:

Our first local production for 2017, Hoener met die Rooi Skoene is a reboot of the 1974 Afrikaans film Babbelkous from legendary South African filmmaker Koos Roets. Updated and slightly reworked, we find ourselves in a setting that’s both modern and vintage with cell phones and trips to the opera wearing big fur coats. Though the shrill and non-stop talking of Lizz Meiring as chatterbox Bonnie grates all your senses, however the quick humour and great performance from Louw Venter, better known as Corne from The Most Amazing Show, makes for an entertaining film.

A receptionist (Meiring) witnesses her unpopular boss (Deon Lotz) die from a stab in the back and calls the police, but when they arrive the body has mysteriously disappeared. Captain ‘Hoener’ Greyling (Venter) is on the case, and as they investigate secrets start spilling out.

The film starts off a bit shaky with a one-star helicopter chase and terrible villain name, an Opera scene that goes on forever and the never-ending over-the-shoulder-look at a not-so-secret-lover that makes you want to shout at the filmmakers to get a move on already. But trust me, it gets better, as Hoener met die Rooi Skoene is a film that will grow on you the longer you watch it. Well for as long as you can stand listening to the leading lady’s continuous jabbering of absolute nonsense, though some jewels pop through now and then. When the director told Meiring to be as annoying as possible, she took it to heart, and with her making up the majority of screen-time, you will have to steel yourself. At many points I found myself hoping she will get killed next, and that hope sustains you until the end. 

If you look past the screeching parrot (the real parrot was a silent angel in comparison) however, you do realise it’s a large component of the story and that the other characters react strongly to Bonnie’s chattering, which makes her a more believable character. My favourite was Venter’s turn as the cold-suffering but clever detective who tries desperately to shut Bonnie up, and embodied how the entire audience was feeling. A silly man yet not idiotic, Greyling was a lovely character that just needed some hot tea. And earplugs.

Though not the best that Afrikaans films have to offer with various plot holes, Hoener met die Rooi Skoene has a certain old-school charm that makes it fun watch and that you don’t have to think hard about but is also not a horribly dumb-downed ‘slapgat’ comedy that makes you lose a few IQ points. The older crowd would enjoy this throwback to a classic 70s film, but the younger Afrikaans generation might miss their favourite ‘pop-ster’ bellowing out a love song.

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