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Number 10

Review courtesy of SA Movie & DVD Magazine

By James O'Ehley

I really like what you've done with the place . . .

Number 10 is an earnest attempt by the local South African film industry to make a Hollywood-style romantic drama/sports film. Unfortunately they also end up replicating every cliché of the genre right down to the coach smoking cigars!

Number 10's problem is that it steals scenes straight from Hollywood movies, without knowing what it was that made those scenes so effective in the first place.

Take the following scene early on: a conservatively-dressed White Afrikaner male catches his wife in bed with a Black man (Kwaito singer Mandoza). Mandoza makes a run for it while the cuckolded husband fetches his shotgun and fires at him.

With Karen Zoid's song Afrikaners is Plesierig playing in the background the scene is intended to be humorous, but considering our country's racial past, the sight of an AWB-lookalike firing at a fleeing Black man just comes across as thoughtless. In fact the entire sequence serves no clear purpose and is probably included just because this sort of scene has been done in countless Hollywood movies over the years. Normally it is the ethnic stereotyped father who comes across his daughter and her usually boyish lover, but here it's simply cringe-inducing and icky. Just what were they thinking?

The movie contains a lot of scenes stolen directly from other films, probably because the screenwriter (Elsabe Roux) felt they should be included in a movie like this. But the net effect is one of a screenplay that needed just one more rewrite to better flesh out underwritten characters — who often do things just because the screenplay requires it from them — and to better connect various vague plot points.

It is only a credit to Colin Moss' screen presence and charisma that his poorly written character remains sympathetic throughout. (Moss is however miscast as a rugby player because of his diminutive frame — his movie fiancée is actually taller than him!)

While the script is underwritten, the movie itself is overdirected. Local director Darrell Roodt (fresh from Dracula 3000) employs too many unnecessary camera and editing tricks. Some wobbly hand-held camerawork during dialogue scenes are particularly unasked for since it made this reviewer feel slightly nauseous. Not to mention a lot of unnecessary jump cuts and unexpected screen swipes (what is this? Star Wars?) and split screens.

To Roodt's credit, the movie looks reasonably professional and of an international standard — something no doubt achieved on a very small budget.

Who the movie is ultimately aimed at however remains a bit of a mystery. Women would want to see it because it has beefcakes Colin Moss and Mandoza in it, but they will probably be put off by all the rugby in it. Men expecting a sports film won't like it either because the rugby element (even though it does have a very stiff Naas Botha in a small cameo) is actually almost coincidental to the plot.

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