Film Review: My Brother’s Keeper

Nomelezi V. Ntshimba as Tshepo and Miranda Mokhele as Dimakatso in Lehlohonolo ‘Shaft’ Moropane's My Brother's Keeper (2014)
Nomelezi V. Ntshimba as Tshepo and Miranda Mokhele Ntshangase as Dimakatso in Lehlohonolo ‘Shaft’ Moropane’s My Brother’s Keeper (2014)

{If} you are going to make a film about a narrative whose juice has been exhaustively squeezed to the point of dry bone snap you will be a miracle worker to find anything new to say. Lehlohonolo ‘Shaft’ Moropane’s My Brother’s Keeper (2014) is one such a film. It’s a love tragedy. Is there anything that anyone can do with this theme? This is an attempt. I invite you to be the judge

The prison opening scene lays out the green carpet of associations for the audience to get to grips with what the protagonist, Tshepo, is about to embark on. A path of redemtion as he swears he will never lend up in jail again. He makes acquintance with the wife, Dimakatso, of a man he killed one evening while driving in a drunken stupor. The problem, at least the viewers will enfer, she is a kind hearted, charming and a simple woman. It does not take long that he falls in love with her ‘life’ (saying ‘with her’ will be like erasing the plot itself). And as much as he is a man disciplined by prison life as we see in his mannerism; he forgets himself in the process and starts to fill the role of the man he killed, as a lover to Dimakatso and a father to a son, Neo. He becomes RraBaiki.

At a deep structural reading this is the life he would have lived should he not have committed the culpable homicide. Unfortunately the past is a shadow of our actions, we’re embroidered to it and it does not just catch up with us. It is there. Always. This is the global message of this film. The theatrics of the protagonist getting close to the vulnerable family are the byways that lead us to the accentuated portrayal of this point.

Miranda Mokhele Ntshangase gives an interesting portrayal in the role of the naïve and vulnerable widow Dimakatso. While Phemelo Tolo is missiable as her son Neo. He is a prop. If Nomelezi V. Ntshimba as Tshepo, our protagonist, wanted to give us a strong willed man, sadly weighdown by guilt while tottering on the brink of telling the truth and suffer the loss of the ‘ideal life’ he leaves us yearning for that man. Actually that man is the only man who would perhaps tighten the scope of this motion picture narrative. He plays second fiddle to Mokhele here. Overall, My Brother’s Keeper, is a repeat of what we have seen before and unfortunately it advances nothing in that regard except for reminding us that the greatest honour of all is to tell the truth and lose the girl, did I say the girl? No man, I meant ‘ideal life’.

Lehlohonolo ‘Shaft’ Moropane’s My Brother’s Keeper is an entertaining tragic drama but like the last cup cake left at the coffee table on an unforgiving cold Sunday afternoon due to load shedding it leaves a lot to be desired for. It manages 2dEF’Points out of Five: ♦ ♦ /

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22 June

Winter

© Mmutle Arthur Kgokong 2015

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