Stander Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ August 16, 2010
Genre: Crime. Based on real life story. IMDb Rating: Above 7.

Well, that was enough to set me going. But the experience was mixed. The script & screenplay isn't up-to-date here; it fails in properly fictionalizing the facts. Some of the sub-plots created to support the story at a later stage are too unconvincing.

After having killed an unarmed protesting citizen in a riot, Andre Stander, one of the captains of the riot squad, asks to free himself from that duty. He was already getting sick of the corruption around him & this riot event only worsened the matters for him. In the midst of this crisis, he begins to rob banks, but eventually gets arrested. He manages to escape, though, with a partner, & later manages to get one more of his inmates out. The three start robbing banks, which soon gains media's attention & the trio is thereby referred to as 'The Stander Gang' by the media & hence the public at large. After a while, Stander feels that he should escape with his wife. But his wife disapproves of his actions, saying: ?There?s not a thinking man among us that doesn?t want to blow this place to smithereens from time to time. But we don?t. We find other ways.? Despite of this, he plans an escape, to be followed by a final heist, with his partners. But do things work out the way they?d planned?

While the first half was good enough, much of the second half was messy. I'm not saying that the second half was absolute crappy. It had its highs & lows, but the lows were far more than the highs. One of the protagonists says: "We've written a pretty good story so far. Why not a perfect ending?" But the ending wasn't that great either. The creation of the South Africa in the 80s era is done quite well, though.

Thomas Jane is exceptional. The way he plays this complicated character is amazing. Deborah Unger is excellent. Dexter Fletcher & David O'Hara are passable.

All in all, the movie works in parts & is worth a shot for those parts, IMO. 6.5/10.
Super Reviewer
½ November 21, 2007
Great character piece and early performance by Thomas Jane
Super Reviewer
June 12, 2007
I bought this sight-unseen and turned out to really like it. Deborah Kara Unger can't really pull of the South Afircan accent, but otherwise this movie is areally good. I just wish it didn't end on such a down note. Oh well. It was still really good, and was peppered with humour.
Super Reviewer
½ September 25, 2006
Tom Jane is brilliant. A true movie star performance. It's a slick, stylish and highly entertaining crime drama. Driven by a hip soundtrack and great action. One cool and compelling bank robbing thriller.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
June 7, 2006
[font=Century Gothic]Based on a true story, "Stander" begins in 1976 when Andre Stander(Thomas Jane) is the youngest captain in the Johannesburg police force and has just remarried his ex-wife, Bekkie(Deborah Kara Unger). Stander is assigned to riot duty at a demonstration in a township by blacks angry at making Afrikaans the official language. Because of the large police force, things quickly get out of hand and the police open fire on the protestors. In the midst of this, Stander shoots and kills an unarmed man at close range. This leaves him shaken to the core and he requests to be taken off riot duty, much to the detriment of his once promising career. Soon after, most of the police force is again assigned to a township on riot duty, leaving the police station pretty much abandoned, Stander being one of the only exceptions. He wonders at the possibilities for committing a crime by a white person with the police force elsewhere. Such a possibility is presented when he walks by a bank, which he promptly enters and robs - in broad daylight.[/font]

[font=Century Gothic]"Stander" is a stunningly great movie directed with panache by Bronwen Hughes. The movie is amazing in that it deftly combines social commentary, politics and history into one gleefully fun heist movie that somehow does not glorify the actions of its protaganist(I originally thought Stander's actions were because of extremely large gonads but I think the real reasons are far, far darker.) nor insult the audience. And I especially liked the ending. [/font]

[font=Century Gothic]There is a very thin line between police and criminal, especially in a police state like Apartheid era South Africa where a minority tries to keep the majority under its thumb by any means necessary. That especially resonates with what is happening in the world today.[/font]
Super Reviewer
October 19, 2012
Stander represents the early days of what has been a very interesting period of South African film making. Great action and use of music and camera work to bring out the best in the performers.
Super Reviewer
½ April 7, 2012
Thomas Jane has not been good in any film that I've ever seen him in, and I've seen quite a few. "Stander" proved me wrong; not only it the best performance of his career, but it's just an all-around great performance. He provides us with a sturdy and well-developed character. On top of that, "Stander" is engaging, exciting, involving, and unquestionably well-made. It's been a long time since I've watched a movie where I haven't checked the clock once at least once and with "Stander", I wasn't bored a single time. Now, there a couple of instances where it gets a little silly, but overall, "Stander" is a great film. Highly recommended.
FanGirl
Super Reviewer
June 21, 2006
The preview and the box look bad, but this movie is really brilliant. It's not a subject I would normally be interested in but this movie really grabs you and is just all around good.
December 16, 2013
This is an action movie I can get behind- interesting characters with clear and sympathetic motives, on top of car chases, shoot outs and heists. Honestly the pacing is sort of off but overall a well crafted film and a great subject matter. Kind of wish it had more of a stance on South Africa but it was fine seeing as it was more of a character film anyhow.
September 1, 2012
Terrific heist flick. The ending is a bit of a downer, but that's almost to be expected from the genre. A standout here--for me, at least--was David Patrick O'Hara as Allan Heyl. You might also recognize him as Stephen from "Braveheart", where he showed off the intensity he carries through this entire film.
½ June 30, 2011
This movie starts off rather tepid, then gets pretty interesting, then looks like it's wallowing low, then picks up quite a bit before ending on a rather odd bit. And so goes the roller coaster ride of watching this movie. One thing for sure, Jane is great. He makes this movie entirely watchable. And the story is so interesting for a real life story - though I assume some of it is changed for dramatic effect.

Still, this movie keeps you watching, even through the lulls because it only teeters, never falling. I'd be interested to see more from this director, and hope Jane gets more roles like this. Last note, was South Africa the stand in for Miami?
June 14, 2007
Just a surprisingly good, tight, lean movie. Brilliant picture. More proof that women need to direct more movies and experiment with new things! Great stuff and Thomas Jane's finest for the moment.
½ October 1, 2014
Wednesday, October 1, 2014

(2014) Stander
BIO-CRIME DRAMA

Based on an actual person by the name of Andre Stander, played by Thomas Jane who was made infamous for robbing several high class banks all across Africa. It showcases step by step, as well as a suggesting a possible motivation for the reason he did it which is cliché to say the least, which has something to do with the suppression and segregation of African natives from white Caucasian laws. Andre gets caught at some point during the movie, and then escapes again recruiting two other people. All I can say is that it's strictly by the book which is no different than any other heist movie made before and perhaps after it.

On the commercial cover, it says it's like a Quentin Tarantino movie, but when you actually watch it it's nothing but... meaning that, one can almost predict everything that happened here. And I was also quite disappointed that I wasn't able to see the actual picture of the real Andre Stanton until after I went to the "Special features" which would've been much more effective had it been shown on the credits.

2 out of 4 stars
August 16, 2014
A captivating portrayal of a man's decent from one injustice thrust upon him to a reactionary injustice. The ride is always fun and the characters remain strong throughout. The directing and acting is top notch. While it may have lost sight of its original motives, it feels like such is the way of the character rather than the film itself.
August 14, 2014
While the film does over-romanticize Stander and his motivations, it raises interesting questions about why he did what he did.
½ August 9, 2014
All I need is you.

Andre Stander is a South African police officer that is ordered to protect his people by executing a series of unarmed protestors. He eventually cannot stand his position and begins going on a series of bank robberies in hopes of becoming a modern day Robin Hood of sorts. Eventually, Stander gets over his head and his house of cards starts crumbling.

"It's bad luck to change the name of a boat, even when you change women."

Bronwen Hughes, director of Harriet the Spy, Forces of Nature, Tangled, Earth Angels, Cutthroat, and Over/Under, delivers Stander. The storyline for this picture is fairly interesting and reminded me a little of American Hustle in the way it was delivered. The action scenes were just okay but the characters are interesting. The cast delivers solid performances and includes Thomas Jane, Sean Else, Dexter Fletcher, David O'Hara, and Ashley Taylor.

"Your mother's balls!"

I do enjoy occasionally watching a Thomas Jane flick (much like Ron Perlman) and decided to add this to my queue when I came across it on Netflix (I had never heard of this). Nevertheless, this is far from a classic like Scarface or Blow, but it is as good as some recent similar films like American Hustle and wraps up nicely. Overall, I do recommend seeing this film but I wouldn't add it to my DVD collection.

"Something are done that can't be undone."

Grade: C+/B-
½ June 18, 2009
a unique and entertaining little crime film. About an ex south african police officer who decides to rob banks.
February 20, 2012
Stander successfully blends action and drama to give us one of the most mature heist films ever made. A very interesting film about a real life Robin Hood figure with a conflicting personality during the apartheid era.
March 9, 2013
One of Jane's best performances. One of my favorite films.
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