Sy Klink soos Lente

2016-09-30 15:54

What it's about:

Ben, a mechanic at a Johannesburg car dealership, and Linda, a beautiful, smart redhead, cross paths one night. He immediately recognises her as his boss’s daughter, although she has no idea who he is. They’re immediately attracted to each other, and, in a frantic and uncertain effort to disguise his identity, Ben lies to Linda and claims to be in a band. When their love blossoms unexpectedly and he decides that he wants to live up to his lie, he starts a band with a few fellow employees, and they enroll for a battle-of-the-bands competition. What if musical talent is not in him? What will happen if Linda finds out that he lied to her?

What we thought:

In one way or another, many of us have felt that we weren’t good enough, not only in life but in our relationships. Sy Klink Soos Lente is a multi-layered story that is brought to life with great writing and enigmatic performances, and has a quirky uniqueness to it that is not normally a feature in your general Afrikaans romances. The film could have really been a great one, if not for the exaggerated soapie acting from its lead actress Amalia Uys.

The story follows mechanic Ben (Stiaan Smith), a man who floats through life without any real passion for living. He meets the daughter (Uys) of his boss (Darren Kelfkens) at a lonely bar, and feeling insecure about his life lies and tells her he’s in a band. Eager to impress her, he attempts to start a band with his co-workers (Bennie Fourie and James Cunningham), but will their ineptitude expose his lie?

Sy Klink Soos Lente is the writing debut of Smith, who also plays the lead, and he has a gift with dry humour and monologues. Although Smith’s theatrical experience comes through both in the script and in his performance, with little skits peppered throughout the film, it strengthens the film rather than diminish it. Smith is also an exceptional actor (and the longer you stare at his face the weaker your knees get) and his character is a unique amalgamation of a loser with awkward charm that doesn’t try to duplicate the many types of romcom Hollywood characters. His chemistry with Fourie and Cunningham are also adorable, and their characters develop and mature alongside Smith’s Ben. 

If only he had the same kind of chemistry with lead actress Uys, and not for the lack of trying. It was a clash of theatrical training and inflated soapie performance that gave the film a serious knock. Kelfkens, known for Egoli run, delivers a golden performance as the protective father and no-nonsense boss, but unlike Uys can switch off the soapie drama.

Uys is not a natural actress and she has to say every line with overblown pomp or emotion, and even though her character, Linda, is lied to, the audience will feel zero sympathy for her. Her time at 7de Laan and Binnelanders has unfortunately ingrained in her that stare-into-the-distance-off-camera style that she tried to mask with too much bubbly can-do attitude. Director Corne van Rooyen (Hollywood in My Huis) just couldn’t bend her style to that of the film.

If her acting didn’t distract you, her wardrobe will do the trick, which took inspiration from the Hannah Montana Disney Channel days. It did not look like something a well-to-do businesswoman would ever wear, and the contrast with Ben’s outfits could actually have brought more gravitas to Ben’s feelings of inadequacy that led to his lie. To be fair, she has much better taste in real life, and sometimes South African filmmakers forget how important the wardrobe can be to a story. 

Though the main fault of this movie is its lead actress, Sy Klink Soos Lente still manages to push through that hefty blow and deliver a film that starts of a little wonky with overly stereotypical office sexism, but quickly changes gear to an enduring and fun watch, thanks to Smith. 

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