Tsotsi

User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 35 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 35
  2. Negative: 2 out of 35

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User Reviews

  1. slobodan
    Aug 9, 2008
    10
    Outstanding movie.
  2. MarcK.
    Feb 24, 2006
    7
    I'd have to say my feelings are similar to what was said by the ReelViews critic...and I would also make this a 7.5 rating if I were allowed to do that here. It's still early, but this has a great chance to be in my best 10 film list (US Releases) for 2006. Definitely deserves it's Oscar nomination, and definitely deserves a look-see.
  3. JoyH.
    Mar 3, 2006
    10
    An excellent film with flawless acting. It definitely leaves an audience speechless. Tsotsi opens our eyes to a world so unlike our own that we can't help but be changed and moved. This film deserves an Oscar!
  4. thewiseking
    May 16, 2006
    9
    a tale of redemption well rendered. on the surface a very simple story which lingers in the mind long afterward. it avoids the usual hollywood cliches and makes no effort to blame the miscreants behavior on the usual/obvious suspects; racism, poverty etc. it is a deeper film, more psychological.we do NOT excuse the Tsotsi for his actions, we are just given more information. great score a tale of redemption well rendered. on the surface a very simple story which lingers in the mind long afterward. it avoids the usual hollywood cliches and makes no effort to blame the miscreants behavior on the usual/obvious suspects; racism, poverty etc. it is a deeper film, more psychological.we do NOT excuse the Tsotsi for his actions, we are just given more information. great score and cinematography, and considering the competition certainly the best foreign film in the running that year. Expand
  5. MDawg
    Sep 8, 2006
    10
    It has been a month since I've seen the movie and I'm still thinking about the powerful ending. Great movie. Gritty yet poignant.
  6. PatC.
    Aug 29, 2007
    7
    A very compelling descent into South Africa's crime scene. Some elements are left hanging, and the ending is more a reaffirmation of incompleteness than of the endearing human qualities alluded to. Still a worthwhile film.
  7. JaredG.
    Mar 6, 2006
    10
    Nothing like City of God. In fact, its better. If you dont think that it deals with true South African issue, you are not looking deep enough.
  8. KathrynL.
    Apr 10, 2006
    9
    Tsotsi is a well acted. stirring and beautiful. I strongly reccommend this film although it is very much like the "hood" movies that we saw saturate theaters in the early 90. If you weren't interested then you won't be now. And if you didn't understand it then you won't understand it now. Is Tsotsi sintemental? Sure. But so was John Stienbeck, and who would deny him?
  9. JaneanP.
    Apr 14, 2006
    3
    Worse than Crash; between this and Joyeux Noel, I've lost faith in any Oscar nominee being worth watching.
  10. MarkB.
    Apr 4, 2006
    5
    In the first few minutes of this overrated, not-so-hotsy South African character study, the nameless title character ("Tsotsi" means thug) and his criminal cohorts ask each other what each is going to do tonight. It's difficult to tell whether this is an indirect lift from the most famous line in Paddy Chayefsky's Marty, but if it is, it certainly wouldn't be this In the first few minutes of this overrated, not-so-hotsy South African character study, the nameless title character ("Tsotsi" means thug) and his criminal cohorts ask each other what each is going to do tonight. It's difficult to tell whether this is an indirect lift from the most famous line in Paddy Chayefsky's Marty, but if it is, it certainly wouldn't be this film's ONLY derivative element. Tsotsi might think that it's more powerful, insightful and moving than it is, but despite a compelling, persuasive lead performance by Presley Chweneyagae in the title role and direction by Gavin Hood (adapting Athol Fugard's novel) that comes off partially as Fernando Meirelles Lite, this comes off as watchable but fundamentally bogus sentimental hogwash that the USA's own Damon Runyon was doing in the 1920s and 30s, and it was hardly original when he was trafficking in it. (I mean, when's the last time YOU saw a movie that literally kicked a dog to gain unwarranted sympathy for one of the characters?) The film attempts to depict the way that Tsotsi, upon discovering the infant son of one of his robbery victims, Becomes A Better Person, but instead it comes off as the most ethically questionable watering-down of the criminality of a reprehensible, antisocial individual since Kevin Bacon's turn in The Woodsman. The fact that the movie's "hero" shows some humanity in caring for the baby simply doesn't cut much ice with me; in the current Thank You For Smoking, we see that the slimeball Big Tobacco lobbyist played by Aaron Eckhardt truly loves his son, but that doesn't make him any LESS of a slimeball. (The difference between the two films in this area is that Thank You's writer-director Jason Reitman is fully aware of this and isn't trying to convince anybody otherwise.) On the other hand, young mother Miriam (Terry Pheto) really IS genuinely admirable and heroic; when forced by Tsotsi to breastfeed the baby, she also voluntarily bathes and shelters him, even though he's not hers and she could be endangering her life and that of her son by not keeping her distance from Tsotsi. (Talk about living by the Biblical admonition of going two miles when being forced to travel one!) And it must be freely admitted that the baby himself, even by the incredibly broad standards of tiny babies with enormously expressive brown eyes and wearing light-blue jumpers, is so overwhelmingly adorable that in his presence even Richard Speck would most likely turn into Dr. Spock; Hood's dozens of closeups of the tot are a probable reason that so many people ARE visibly affected by this film. What's less understandable is why the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences absurdly chose this as Best Foreign Film of 2005 over the infiniterly more challenging and original Paradise Now, especially after displaying such insight and wisdom last year in choosing the provocative and moving drama The Sea Inside over the shopworn inspirational saga The Chorus, which was as hokey as this is. I can only guess that too many voters, allowing political pressure to get to them, misinterpreted Paradise Now as a justification of Palestinian terrorist suicide bombings (which it most definitely is NOT; it's too conveniently forgotten that a central character CHANGES HIS MIND about participating in the attack and spends a substantial part of the movie trying to prevent it) and went for the nice, safe choice. When Crash topped Brokeback Mountain for the big prize, I initially doubted that it was the result of right-wing hostility toward the so-called "gay cowboy" movie, but now...well, I'm not so sure. Expand
  11. RobertI.
    Dec 2, 2007
    7
    Leaves you with a knot in your stomach, for the situation, the people, the grinding poverty, and cruelty of a large segment of human life. affecting performances bring it to life.
  12. DanielS
    Jan 4, 2007
    8
    Beautifully crafted and well-acted film about a thug's redemptiom in the shanty towns of South Africa. Some may find this story as glossing over the brutality of the characters' actions, and providing an improbable transformation, but they're missing the finest and subtlest points of the film. It's clear from the on-set this is set in a violent harsh world, and Beautifully crafted and well-acted film about a thug's redemptiom in the shanty towns of South Africa. Some may find this story as glossing over the brutality of the characters' actions, and providing an improbable transformation, but they're missing the finest and subtlest points of the film. It's clear from the on-set this is set in a violent harsh world, and it's captured in breathtaking shots by superb cinematography, editing and direction. This is a compelling film of a young man who needs a moment of humanity to affect him and his future. Expand
  13. MichaelL.
    Mar 14, 2006
    6
    Good directing/cinematography. acting was decent. Wasn't completely convinced that the main character was that bad initially. Why he kept the baby is beyond me. Though there are some points in the movie that give good portrayals of conflicting morals and actions, I can't say this movie is one of the best foreign films ever. It is also very anti-climactic which gives a criminal Good directing/cinematography. acting was decent. Wasn't completely convinced that the main character was that bad initially. Why he kept the baby is beyond me. Though there are some points in the movie that give good portrayals of conflicting morals and actions, I can't say this movie is one of the best foreign films ever. It is also very anti-climactic which gives a criminal like me less to look forward to. Expand
  14. SusanL.
    May 25, 2006
    8
    I took my kids , 11 and 14 to see it. There was just enough of a sense of the poverty and rage as to teach not too much to overwhelm.
  15. May 1, 2011
    7
    Although there is plenty to praise about, the excess emotional involvement of the thug from the slums of JoBurg leaves a strong Hollywood aftertaste in the mouth.
  16. Mar 1, 2011
    6
    Stretched out, nice idea but poor realisation. Main character great, book is much better. It took me 3 days to watch it properly so thats one of the reasons for only 6 points.
  17. Feb 28, 2013
    10
    I really liked this movie, when I submit a review for a film, I think of the "bad" parts that brings the movie down from a 10, but I really can't think of any, the story was great, it had such a high level of realism, and I even began to care about some of the characters near the end.
Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. Reviewed by: Phil Hall
    80
    Tsotsi emerges as being among the finest films ever to come out of Africa. It is a brilliant, jolting and altogether powerful blast of energy and emotion.
  2. 75
    Based on a play by Athol Fugard, Tsotsi is South Africa's entry in this year's Oscar race for Best Foreign-Language Film. This remarkable movie means to shake you, and boy does it ever.
  3. Brutal but believable, the film in some ways harks back to early Hollywood, when Jimmy Cagney or Richard Widmark played callow villains out of their depth in everyday life.