By: Witney Seibold

It’s kind of odd to follow the careers of certain actors. Case in point is Thomas Jane, who plays Andre Stander in this new crime film from Bronwen Hughes. Andre Stander was a police chief in Johannesburg who, in an odd career move, was also South Africa’s most notorious bank robber. Thomas Jane’s most popular credit to date was none other than The Punisher. It’s an odd flip, going from a cartoony American sociopath, to a real-life South African one. But that he can do it is a credit to his acting abilities. His performance, though, can only carry this film so far, as it gets lost in its own style.

The story of Andre Stander is this: 1976. He was a cop; the youngest detective in South African history. According to the film, he was also the best, noticing details at a crime scene that all the others miss. When called for military duty, he ends up having to quell a gathering of black people who are miffed about the whole apartheid thing. He ends up murdering a young man in the ensuing riot. Soon thereafter, he resigns form the military and, with little explanation, begins robbing banks. He develops disguises, skills, and becomes very good at it, sometimes robbing multiple banks in a day. He’s caught, and thrown in prison, where he only gets to know more criminals who end up helping him (played by David O’Hara and Dexter Fletcher from “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels”).

He slipped the police, and died in Florida in the mid ‘80s.

This film is shot very well, and has a hot, fierce energy that a lot of big studio films shoot for, but miss entirely. It looks gritty and a little dirty, which is perfect for tone. I was never bored. The film’s problem is that, as it progresses, it becomes preoccupied with its own style, and we start to lose humanity. I wish we got some real insight into the transition from lawmaker to sociopath; the film sort of glosses it over. It’s certainly a good film, but lacking in areas.

Published in: on September 8, 2009 at 12:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

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