Uncut - 04/01/2006 4 stars out of 5 -- "[P]owerful....It's quite an achievement by director Gavin Hood....Authentic..."
Sight and Sound - 04/01/2006
"Hood elicits a great performance from Presley Chweneyagae as the delinquent hero slowly beginning to question his life of casual violence....Individual scenes are staged with tremendous verve."
USA Today - 02/24/2006
"TSOTSI is a compelling and uplifting tale of humanity and dignity in the starkest of environments."
Entertainment Weekly - 07/14/2006
"[The] moody, minimalist film conveys a South African street thug's moral wake-up call without ham-fisted speeches..."
Total Film - 08/01/2006 4 stars out of 5 -- "[A] sharp focus, epiphany snapshot....The semi-pro Presley Chweneyagae uses every iris-flex and eyebrow nudge..."
Ultimate DVD - 07/01/2006 4 stars out of 5 -- "TSOTSI is a raw and brutal look at the simmering hotbed of violence that inevitably exists in deprived inner city shantytowns."
Based on South African playwright Athol Fugard's only novel, TSOTSI is a thrilling, provocative look at life in the ghettos outside present-day Johannesburg. Presley Chweneyagae stars as the title character, a teenager with a killer stare who lives alone in a ramshackle room in a poor shantytown, where he pulls off petty crimes with the help of three compatriots--Boston (Mothusi Magano), Butcher (Zenzo Ngqobe), and Aap (Kenneth Nkosi). But after they stab a man to death on the subway and Tsotsi (which means "thug" or "gangster") beats up Boston for trying to find out about his past, Tsotsi runs off to a wealthy section of the city, shoots a woman, and steals her car. Only later does he discover that there is a baby in the back seat--and decides to keep it for himself. As Tsotsi finally does look back at his own childhood, he tries to take care of the infant, carrying it around in a paper bag and forcing a young mother, Miriam (Terry Pheto), to breastfeed it at gunpoint. At this point, writer-director Gavin Hood could have opted for trite sentimentality, but instead he delves deeper into Tsotsi's psyche, as the young man might have already gone too far to turn back now. TSOTSI is a pulsating, electrifying film propelled by Chweneyagae's powerful, mesmerizing performance. The pounding soundtrack features popular local Kwaito music by Zola, who also plays crimelord Fela in the film. Winner of the 2006 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, TSOTSI "will rank as one of the best films ever to come out of South Africa," as Fugard himself said.
Description by Buena Vista Home Entertainment:
Captivating audiences worldwide, this compelling story of crime and redemption has earned countless awards around the globe. On the edges of Johannesburg, Tsotsi's life has no meaning beyond survival. One night, in desperation, Tsotsi steals a woman's car. But as he is driving off, he makes a shocking discovery in the backseat. In one moment his life takes a sharp turn and leads him down an unexpected path to redemption ... giving him hope for a future he never could have imagined. TSOTSI is an extraordinary portrait of the choices that are made in life and how compassion can endure in the human heart. From Miramax Films, the studio that brings you the best in world cinema (CITY OF GOD, AMÉLIE, THE CHORUS).