Otelo Burning Image

Mixed or average reviews - based on 7 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: The film tells the story of a group of township kids who discover the joy of surfing. It's set in 1989, against a backdrop of brewing conflict between two political groups in Lamontville. When 16-year-old Otelo Buthelezi takes to the water for the first time, it's clear that he was born to surf. But then tragedy strikes. On the day that Nelson Mandela is released from prison, Otelo is forced to choose between surfing success and justice. The film captures a turbulent time in the history of South Africa. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 7
  2. Negative: 1 out of 7
  1. Reviewed by: Neil Genzlinger
    Nov 26, 2012
    Ms. Blecher draws fine performances out of the young actors and, to her credit, sugarcoats nothing.
  2. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Dec 2, 2012
    A cast of young actors is uniformly strong, as is Lance Gewer's photography.
  3. Reviewed by: Farran Smith Nehme
    Nov 29, 2012
    Somehow, mostly through the impassioned performances of its young actors, the film finds its footing in the third act, as the narration goes quiet and tragedy unfolds with precision, even elegance.
  4. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Nov 29, 2012
    This crisp, involving South African drama comes at you in waves, changing course and tone expertly.
  5. Reviewed by: Joel Arnold
    Nov 29, 2012
    The film presents a stark choice: seek escape in vengeance and blame, or gamble on the freedom gained by embracing a new world, however scarred it may be.
  6. Reviewed by: Michael Atkinson
    Nov 27, 2012
    Tiresomely simple, the film introduces a subplot involving betrayal and political informants in the eleventh hour, but by then you're either smitten by these guileless Zulu lads experiencing "freedom" on the waves or you've checked out.
  7. Reviewed by: Glenn Heath Jr.
    Nov 26, 2012
    The film grows increasingly tiresome the more it flirts with melodrama, unraveling themes of jealousy, regret, and ambition in broad strokes.