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Gangster's Paradise: Jerusalema Reviews

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Sophie Ivan

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

Full Review Source: Film4

July 20, 2010
Lee Griffiths
Little White Lies

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

| Original Score: 3/5

July 16, 2010
Rich Cline
Shadows on the Wall

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

Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall | Original Score: 3.5/5

July 14, 2010
Allan Hunter
Daily Express

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

Full Review Source: Daily Express | Original Score: 3/5

July 12, 2010
Peter Bradshaw

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.

Full Review Source: Guardian | Original Score: 2/5

July 8, 2010
James O'Brien
Daily Mail [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.

Full Review Source: Daily Mail [UK] | Original Score: 4/5

July 8, 2010
Robbie Collin
News of the World

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.

Full Review Source: News of the World | Original Score: 4/5

July 8, 2010
Robert Abele
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 4/5

July 7, 2010
Michelle Orange

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.

Full Review Source: Movieline | Original Score: 6/10

July 7, 2010
Antonia Quirke
Financial Times

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.

Full Review Source: Financial Times | Original Score: 2/5

July 7, 2010
Josh Winning
Total Film

Jerusalema remains an elegant third venture from director Ralph Ziman.

Full Review Source: Total Film | Original Score: 3/5

July 7, 2010
Alex Critchley
Sky Movies

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

Full Review Source: Sky Movies | Original Score: 3/5

July 7, 2010
Trevor Johnston
Time Out
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.

Full Review Source: Time Out | Original Score: 3/5

July 6, 2010
David Parkinson
Empire Magazine

A potent, energised slice of South African life.

Full Review Source: Empire Magazine | Original Score: 3/5

July 6, 2010
Pete Hammond
Back Stage

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

Full Review Source: Back Stage | Original Score: 3.5/5

June 12, 2010
Mike Hale
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 3.5/5

June 11, 2010
V.A. Musetto
New York Post
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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.

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 2/4

June 11, 2010
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
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Startlingly original, if occasionally overambitious. This is Tsotsi without the feel-good glow, a tale of entrepreneurship's perils and boundless pleasures.

Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal

June 10, 2010
Nick Schager
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

Full Review Source: Village Voice

June 8, 2010
Ed Scheid
Boxoffice Magazine

Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine | Original Score: 3/5

August 27, 2010
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