If Gangster’s Paradise – Jerusalema is anything to go by, the South African film industry has come on in leaps and bounds over the past few years. Well acted, cleverly written and beautifully shot, Ralph Ziman’s crime drama can go head-to-head with most things coming out of Hollywood at the moment.
Based on actual events, the film tells the story of Lucky Kunene (Seiphemo) who grows up in Johannesburg dreaming of owning a BMW and a seafront property in Durban. We follow his criminal career path from a footsoldier stealing cars to a crime boss who hijacks entire buildings and laughs in the face of authorities.

However, with committed Detective Swart (Robert Hobbs) vowing to bring him down and a relationship with a woman from the wealthy suburbs (Miskin) making him vulnerable to his enemies, Kunene has to use all his street smarts to stay alive.

Though influenced by the likes of Scarface, City Of God and American Gangster, Jerusalema puts a South African twist on genre staples. The script is a cracker, combining humour, action and social commentary, while Seiphemo is hugely impressive in what is the best South African film you’ll see this year.

Good for: Those who love gritty crime dramas.

Starring: Rapulana Seiphemo, Shelley Miskin
RT 120 mins
Rated: 4 stars