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Tsotsi (Thug) (2006)



Average Rating: 7.4/10
Reviews Counted: 128
Fresh: 105 | Rotten: 23

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


Average Rating: 7.7/10
Critic Reviews: 34
Fresh: 30 | Rotten: 4

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



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Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 38,895

My Rating

Movie Info

An amoral teenager develops an unexpected paternal side in this powerful drama from South Africa. Tsotsi (Presley Chweneyagae) is the street name used by a young Johannesburg delinquent who has taken to a life of crime in order to support himself. Tsotsi comes from a blighted upbringing -- his mother died slowly from AIDS-related illnesses, and his father was torturously abusive -- and he has developed a talent for violence borne of necessity as well as taking strange pleasure in hurting other


Art House & International, Drama

Jul 18, 2006


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All Critics (135) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (105) | Rotten (23) | DVD (22)

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.

April 7, 2006 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Unfolds in such clear-eyed, powerful fashion that its characters become unforgettable, and the movie lands a big-time emotional punch.

March 24, 2006
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

To feel the full power of the movie's wrenching story, you must not rush to judge or embrace young Tsotsi. He is an enigma whose journey is the story.

March 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A deeply moving portrait of a human being, suffering in life and not having any handle on how to deal with it. It's tragedy, not melodrama.

March 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The picture can be squishy and obvious. Yet it works, thanks to Gavin Hood's straightforward, sensitive direction and his star's emotionally charged performance.

March 23, 2006 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[Director] Hood gives the film energy by its unexpected locations, a score both jolting and soaring, and a carefully constructed screenplay that makes everyone in this film a dimensional, complicated character.

March 17, 2006 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop 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.

November 7, 2010 Full Review Source:

Fraudulent, patronizing, and empty

August 30, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion

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.

September 27, 2008 Full Review Source: emotionally honest tale of redemption that does not ignore the fact that we live in a world of cause and consequence.

February 28, 2008 Full Review Source:

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

September 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Cinematical

Memorable, with a terrific performance by Presley Chweneyagae as Tsotsi that burns in its contained rage.

September 16, 2007 Full Review Source: Bangor Daily News (Maine)
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

Don't be fooled by the subtitles and the egg head accolades. This pretentious mess is just another country's version of 50 Cent-style fare.

July 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Upstage Magazine | Comments (3)
Upstage Magazine

Un drama urbano duro y conmovedor, si bien algo previsible, con un estupendo protagonista. Una película realmente atendible que nos acerca al infrecuente cine sudafricano.

March 13, 2007 Full Review Source: Uruguay Total
Uruguay Total

This powerful story, reminiscent of Dostoyevsky's 'Crime and Punishment,' is told with a minimum of dialogue.

January 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

This film won the Oscar for best foreign language film, and it is well deserved.

July 26, 2006 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

told with conviction and skill, and Chweneyagae's expressive face and eyes reveal all the emotions, fears and hopes that Tsotsi cannot articulate.

July 14, 2006 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

In the long run, the film may not entirely satisfy one's intellectual curiosity, but it pleases the heart.

July 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

A chance for the stay-at-home world-travelers to catch sight of Johannesburg's filthy sprawling township of Soweto.

May 13, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews | Comments (2)
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

It's well-acted, beautifully photographed and meticulously professional.

May 12, 2006 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

Tsotsi remains at all times an intensely human story, one that transcends the particulars of its time and its place.

May 6, 2006 Full Review Source: Killer Movie Reviews
Killer Movie Reviews

A film of extraordinary viciousness and vulnerability about a criminal who has to meet an infant to remember he is still a child himself.

May 4, 2006 Full Review Source:

Without cheap deceptions, clever editing, plot conveniences or overt exposition, the film pulls you in and keeps you there on the merit of the story's substance.

May 3, 2006 Full Review Source:

But by placing the tale in contemporary Soweto and Johannesburg, South Africa, Hood imbues the film with a sense of authenticity that makes the movie seem more moving than manipulative.

April 22, 2006 Full Review Source:

Gavin Hood, adapting playwright Athol Fugard's 1980 novel, sweeps us out of our comfy seats and drops us into the stark realities of an impoverished world ruled by those most bold and ruthless.

April 17, 2006

Newcomer Presley Chweneyagae is stunning as Tsotsi; it's one of the most affecting performances of 2005.

April 14, 2006 Full Review Source: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

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".
June 3, 2007

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.
July 22, 2013
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.
December 26, 2012
Louis Rogers

Super Reviewer

This is an alright movie to be honest its completely in subtitles but dont et that put you of! If i compared it to anothr movie it would be similar to kidulthood/adulthood just that its based in south africa jonaahburg, but along te same line its just about a poor group of lads who have no way of iving apart from resulting to crime and this one day tsotsi steals a car which turns ut to have a baby in the back and he must do the right thing so it leads him on a journey of rights and wrongs and we see th horrible unbringing hes had in life and its quite a captivating heartwarming movie and its worth a watch though i didnt particualy like the ending but apart from that yu get to see what its like for poor people in south africa an troubles life gives tem really worth a watch!
July 19, 2009
Film Crazy

Super Reviewer

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