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Gangster's Paradise: Jerusalema (2008)

tomatometer

67

Average Rating: 6/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.

audience

78

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 761

My Rating

Movie Info

An uneducated gas station attendant with a taste for the finer things in life turns to crime as a means of making ends meet, only to find himself on a dangerous collision course with the biggest drug dealer in town. All Lucky Kunene wanted out of life was a house by the water, a beautiful wife, and a 7-series BMW. Unfortunately, Lucky hails from a poor Soweto family, and his application for a university grant has just been refused. Dejected at the thought of spending the rest of his life pumping

Sep 28, 2010

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All Critics (20) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (15) | Rotten (5)

rags-to-riches tale cut from the same cloth as City of God, Goodfellas and Scarface.

July 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Writer-director Ralph Ziman strings it all together with slick competence, but given that leading man Rapulana Seiphemo does a persuasive line in moral ambiguity, it's disappointing that the proceedings too often default to glib shoot-'em-up.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's easy to overlook the formulas and just enjoy the ride.

June 11, 2010 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The opening credits of Gangster's Paradise note that it was "inspired by real events." It would be more accurate to say that the film was inspired by Brian De Palma's Scarface and similar fare.

June 11, 2010 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Startlingly original, if occasionally overambitious. This is Tsotsi without the feel-good glow, a tale of entrepreneurship's perils and boundless pleasures.

June 10, 2010 Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Though South Africa's racial strife is frequently invoked, sociopolitical inquiry takes a backseat to creaky gangster-cinema tropes.

June 8, 2010 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's hard not to feel such complex, dramatically rich subject matter merits a less prosaic treatment.

July 20, 2010 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Despite the familiar ground, Ralph Ziman manages to orchestrate an engrossing and energetic film full of memorable characters and a wicked soundtrack.

July 16, 2010
Little White Lies

Bold, energetic and extremely complicated, this epic thriller is an eye-opening exploration of ... Johannesburg

July 14, 2010 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

Issues of race and social injustice add a little grit and texture to an otherwise overlong and over familiar gangster story.

July 12, 2010 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

Sadly things unwind and the movie loses power with covert special pleading for the wiseguy protagonist, who is supposed to be morally superior to obviously vindictive white cops or evil drug dealer rivals.

July 8, 2010 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

Ultimately, like all the best gangster films, it is a story of people, not principles. Actions, not ideas. And it is very nearly a masterpiece.

July 8, 2010 Full Review Source: Daily Mail [UK]
Daily Mail [UK]

The film pays its dues to the classics. Not only does it lovingly rip off a truck heist from Heat, but Lucky and his gang actually sit down and watch Heat for tips.

July 8, 2010 Full Review Source: News of the World
News of the World

Lucky's journey fails to inspire either empathy or a more scrutinizing ethical engagement; he acts simply as a character in a cut-rate gangster mash-up might, and around the time of that first, zany carjacking it ceases to matter where he'll end up.

July 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Movieline
Movieline

A cheerfully violent South African ramble about a gangster unwilling to "sit on his arse waiting for Mandela". Initially intriguing, it collapses in an hour.

July 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

Jerusalema remains an elegant third venture from director Ralph Ziman.

July 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

It's a rich portrait made all the more worrying by apparently being based on actual events.

July 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

A potent, energised slice of South African life.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

A riveting look at a side of South Africa that seems to have been swept under the rug.

June 12, 2010 Full Review Source: Back Stage | Comment (1)
Back Stage

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