“After every revolution comes a new order, but before that comes opportunity,” recites Lucky Kunene (Rapulana Seiphemo), crime boss, slum lord and post-Apartheid opportunist.
He should know – trading up Soweto slums for a drug-swamped Johannesburg, he idolises Al Capone and Karl Marx, and boasts a ruthless business mind that’s made him a Joho top gun. At least that’s what transpires in the second half of this grungy, sprawling South African saga.
The far superior ’90s-set first half tackles Lucky’s lowly beginnings with wily humour and precision pacing, tracking the young dreamer as he goes from selling sweets on trains (“Free enterprise was never encouraged”) to hi-jacking cars for Russia-trained ex-soldier Nazareth Mbolelo ( Jeffrey Zekele).
That proceedings eventually divert into a rambling, racism-probing mob movie replete with love interest and undercooked cop plot is a shame. Still, Jerusalema remains an elegant third venture from director Ralph Ziman.
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