Heart of the Hunter

Heart of the Hunter
Heart of the Hunter
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Based on Deon Meyer’s novel. There is also the fact that he serves as one of the film’s two screenwriters (the other being Willem Grobler). In terms of action thrillers, it does quite well but not without a certain generic touch here and there. The context around which this film is set, is an unstable political environment in South Africa pervaded with dishonesty and conspiracies. Nevertheless, the story pitches itself against a backdrop that has long been overplayed in South African literature; corruption and conspiracy within a volatile politico-economic landscape. So we are talking about Heart of the Hunter Movie.

Meanwhile, it builds its plot employing hackneyed clichés characteristic of a standard political thriller: trust no one, once you opted out from the heart of things, your enemies are still watching you, even if soiled by an already corrupted system there will always be those nasty powers manipulating it,all these make victims out of common people, while our hero remains morally ambiguous helping his countrymen for greater good. Not that creative nor original at any rate. However, Heart of the Matter earns plus points for authenticity in performance by its actors/actresses.

All characters play their roles quite effectively though it can be argued that each character does what they are supposed to do well enough. Zuko (portrayed by Bonko Khoza), who plays the lead role in this film has an underlying fire burning inside him at all times. “He was once an assassin assigned to kill undesirable leaders in South Africa,” said his wife in her testimony before the court. Currently however he quietly works for one of the most expensive motorcycle dealerships as he stays with his wife and stepson.” The past may have its roots down deep while living straight might give an impression like nothing occurred before now or ever would again through human agency alone.” Hence, when circumstances force him back into action to eliminate a pretentious presidential aspirant whose triumph is predetermined, what really matters is his sudden change of behavior. Zuko is a good family man, but he would rather use violence to right the wrongs of the world – a statement that makes absolutely no sense in practice but serves as a perfect expression of his ethos. Change from being one (a good man) to the other(a highly trained contract murderer) is interesting indeed and it is mainly due to the stellar performance by Bonko Khoza in here. It’s all about seeing things differently. He could be talking about farming with his step child one minute only to be seen escaping arrest through the Karoo on a motorbike half an hour later

A caricature through and through, Mtima (Sisanda Henna) is the main antagonist. It was all the writing’s fault for that matter, as there can only be one thing to blame for this. Rather than being seen as an individual who embodies entitlement/corruption, it would have been better to make him a more round person. There is no doubt about the fact that such kind of entity exists in our South Africa context (all political set-ups for that matter). But how did he become like this in the first place? What we see him doing is abusing the system. This entails taking advantage of the country’s intelligence agency by turning into his own personal security firm, getting drunk and having expensive meals on taxpayers’ money and charging his political enemies with false crimes. Making him look evil is understandable, but you don’t have to fall into a cliché. Instead of having Johnny Klein (Peter Butler), Mtima’s erstwhile competitor appear in just two short scenes, it could have been more beneficial to lengthen those parts in the film. Hence, when Johnny Klein tells Zuko that he confirms it has been corroborated that will stop them from becoming president they are setting it off.

In line with this thinking are Nicole Fortuin and Deon Coetzee as their characters respectively deserved some more time on screen than given here. Why Zuko associates himself with former remains unexplained or explored at all nor does Coetzee’s (a once-prominent journalist) past life history say anything? Some of these missed chances allow deep character development which goes together with action and chases.

Several members of the cast make up for a script that creates illusions of grandeur by ringing true in terms of acting abilities. It is not only Zuko who should be given attention; other characters include Johnny Klein, Naledi (Nicole Fortuin) and Mike Bressler(Deon Coetzee) who are worth attention. Besides, these performances take away the glitter from the moments that lead to an expected ending of a narrative. On the other hand, Heart of the Hunter is flawed in itself but it should be watched just because it tries to say something about present political climate in South Africa which is greatly haunted by its Apartheid history. Thus Zuko contemptuously brands Mtima as “an enemy to our ancestors”, implying that latter behaves like his former white masters.

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