Tsotsi (Thug) (2006) - Rotten Tomatoes

Tsotsi (Thug) (2006)



Critic Consensus: Chweneyagae's powerful performance carries this simple yet searing tale of a shantytown teenager's redemption.

Movie Info

A South African street thug seeks redemption through the care of the young infant he inadvertently picked up during the course of a random car-jacking in director Gavin Hood's adaptation of Athol Fugard's novel. A hair-trigger brute who has adopted the slang term that defines him as his moniker, Tsotsi (Presley Chweneyagae) brutalizes his opponent in a bar fight before acquiring a BMW in a spontaneous car-jacking. Startled by a noise in the backseat, Tsotsi crashes the car on a deserted highway before realizing that the source of the distracting sound was a small infant still nestled safely in the back seat. His paternal instincts prompting Tsotsi to bring the infant home with him, the aimless youth soon forces the child on a young neighborhood mother, Miriam (Terry Pheto), at gunpoint. As Tsotsi's relationships with Miriam and the child grow ever more complex, his noble intentions soon give way to more violence.more
Rating: R (for language and some strong violent content)
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Gavin Hood
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 18, 2006
Box Office: $2.8M
Miramax - Official Site


Percy Matsemela
as Sergeant Zuma
Benny Moshe
as Young Tsotsi
Zenzo Ngqobe
as Butcher
Israel Makoe
as Tsotsi's Father
Ian Roberts
as Capt. Smit
Owen Sejake
as Gumboot Dlamini
as Fela
Sindi Khambule
as Tsotsi's Mother
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Tsotsi (Thug)

Critic Reviews for Tsotsi (Thug)

All Critics (135) | Top Critics (37)

It is a first peek at a South Africa that doesn't need a Hollywood studio or Hollywood stars to present itself to the world, or to come to grips with itself at home.

Full Review… | April 7, 2006
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

It's a redemption song that could be stripped down into a Hallmark-esque distillation of "City of God." Instead, it retains a minor key, with bullets, blood and beatings illustrating a descent into dangerous living while a baby's presence suggests hope.

Full Review… | November 7, 2010

Fraudulent, patronizing, and empty

Full Review… | August 30, 2009

Gavin Hood's Oscar-nominated tale about a young South African gangster who gets an unexpected chance at redemption is literally a world apart from anything produced by Hollywood.

Full Review… | September 27, 2008

...an emotionally honest tale of redemption that does not ignore the fact that we live in a world of cause and consequence.

Full Review… | February 28, 2008

The Johannesburg equivalent of any stateside gangster fairy tale, Tsotsi actually feels even more forced than Hollywood's modern urban dramas.

Full Review… | September 17, 2007

Audience Reviews for Tsotsi (Thug)


Amazing, intense perfomance in the lead role - reminded me of Jimmy Cliff in The Harder They Come - the setting was fascinating, the direction solid and dynamic, killer tunes... but... i think Charlie Chaplin actually passed on this script back in 1918 - citing the "transparent, hack sentimentalism".

Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer

A hard-hearted street thug accidentally kidnaps a baby and must care for him.
A basic morality tale, Tsotsi hits all the right notes in a maudlin song. The healing power of love, the innocence of childhood, the permanence/importance of parental love -- all the usual themes are stuffed in this film. Added to this is the simplistic explanation for Tsotsi's behavior, his abandonment by he parents. Overall, it's all a cliche, but it's a well done cliche.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

This essentially simple story becomes a genuinely astounding film: bolstered by raw and engaging performances, thoughtfully directed and filmed. Utterly captivating.

Louis Rogers
Louis Rogers

Super Reviewer

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