Monday, 18 December 2017

Critic’s-Eye View: “Vuil Wasgoed”

Following up his hit Nul is nie niks nie from earlier this year, Morné du Toit has a new film in theatrical release right now: the Afrikaans crime-caper-comedy Vuil Wasgoed. I have not had a chance to see it myself, but can report on what other reviewers and commentators have been saying about it.

Read The Back Row’s review of Vuil Wasgoed.

Herman Eloff awarded the film three stars in his review for Channel24, stating that, considering the risks of adapting a short film into a feature-length comedy, “it worked out just fine.”

The big screen version is far more polished than the original short. It’s slicker, smoother, and faster. Even the cinematography is sexier with an expensive, international feel to it. The characters have also grown and are a lot more developed and interesting to watch. … Vuil Wasgoed really is a breath of fresh air in the local cinematic offering. It’s well-made and beautifully put together. But it also has its problems.
Although a stellar cast, some characters really dropped the ball a few times. When a strategically placed joke falls flat it results in an uncomfortable silence from the audience. … The constant jabs at [the film’s two disabled characters, a blind man and deaf woman] were insensitive and completely unnecessary. Instead of using this opportunity to include disabled characters into the narrative, they were rather used as an easy target to make fun of. This kind of ableism should never by okay and should not be encouraged in any way. The crude treatment of the disabled left a dirty stain on an otherwise pristine effort.”

As before, Jamal Grootboom charged off a shopping list of complaints in his one-star review for the IOL Tonight entertainment supplement:

Director Morné du Toit has produced an unfunny, cobbled together mess. … One of the biggest problems with the film is the number of glaring plot holes within it. … Furthermore, the acting is also all over the place. … Benjamin Willem, who is responsible for the sound design and musical score, produced one of the most egregious scores I’ve heard in a long time. Nothing drives me crazier than watching a film and taking notice of the musical score. The sound design is also questionable, with it being evident that the sound effects were done during post-production. Screenwriter Bennie Fourie really outdid himself with the horrid comic timing in this film.
While watching Vuil Wasgoed, not a single joke landed and most of the humour just produced eye-rolls. The characters are one-dimensional with most acting purely as plot devices, having no real character arc or growth. … The cinematography and editing are fine, although there were a few syncing issues. The film looks like it was a straight-to-streaming movie that was placed on the big screen. Vuil Wasgoed is the worst film I’ve seen this year. It has bad dialogue, a deplorable score, and unlikable characters from beginning to end.

In direct contrast to Grootboom’s distaste, Leon van Nierop gave the film eight stars out of ten in his RSG film-reviewing slot, calling it “clever, engaging, preposterous, and deliberate.”

Vuil Wasgoed, stains and all, removes moviegoers who have become used to a certain sort of Afrikaans comedy over the years from their comfort zones. … The humour is young and hip, it isn’t so vulgar as what you may be used to. It’s an experiment for a new generation, but also tries to persuade an older generation, which is comfortable with safe clichés from the last 30 years, to bring their clothes to be washed here. … I thought it’s one of the funniest comedies I have ever seen in Afrikaans without blushing.

Van Nierop also featured the film in his Silwerskerm column for the Rapport, in which he awarded it four stars out of five.

It’s one of the most original comedies ever in Afrikaans, and therefore some moviegoers may struggle to find the appeal, because it doesn’t take a predictable path. … How heartening that Morné du Toit has found his genre. His direction is rowdy, but is restrained by a natural sense for rhythm, a mischievous courage, and dazzling dialogue. He was not totally at home with Nul is nie niks nie, but Vuil Wasgoed gives him the opportunity to stun you … The director is enjoying the story just as much as you are. The film is actually Jamie Uys on steroids.

The reviewer Chanell awarded the film six stars out of ten in a guest review on the Big Screen Hooligans site, writing that

it is just as funny as it would be in your typical Hollywood action comedy. I had high hopes for the movie after watching the kykNet short film, but was left slightly disappointed after the movie turned out to be somewhat mediocre and run-of-the-mill. Nonetheless, the movie is still enjoyable when you are looking for some mindless entertainment and I was pleasantly surprised by our local actors’ portrayal of their roles in the movie.

Reney Warrington praised it in her review on the Afrikaans culture site LitNet, writing that

The story has interesting twists and the violence is rather graphic without going overboard. Some of the scenarios are too good for words. … The film doesn’t really move any boundaries for international crime capers (the way that Baby Driver turned the heist genre on its head), but it’s an enjoyable contribution to South African, and particularly Afrikaans, cinema.

Let me know of any other reactions or responses to the film that I should include here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Enter your unrestrained arguments here