Year of the Perlemoen

Cold Harbour

cold_harbour

Director: Carey McKenzie

Starring: Tony Kgoroge, Deon Lotz, Fana Mokoena, Yu Nan

South African actor Deon Lotz first came to prominence in Oliver Schmidt’s award winning impressive film Skoonheid. The actor is now back starring in Cold Harbour a noir thriller about nefarious Perlemoen trading in Cape Town along with Tony Kgoroge (Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom) as conflicted detective Sizwe Miya and Fana Mokoena as the Cape gangster Specialist.

South African director Carey McKenzie film Cold Harbour which premiered at the Durban International Film Festival http://www.durbanfilmfest.co.za/ Should really take a leaf out of the more sophisticated 1985 Michael Cimino film The Year of the Dragon which dealt with the infiltration of Chinese Triads in New York.

It seems the Chinese have been painted as one of the bad guys along with a host of morally dubious characters in this ominously lit film Cold Harbour which in true film noir tradition there is no clear cut hero versus villain, especially in McKenzie’s uneven and contrived portrayal of the Cape Town crime world.

McKenzie’s version of Cape Town as depicted in Cold Harbour is another reason not to visit the mother city in winter as she paints the supposed design capital as a bleak and unsettling city with unfinished highways surrounded by the freezing and unforgiving Atlantic Ocean. The director does not even give the much celebrated Marina del Gama complex in Cape Town near Muizenberg a forgiving depiction, a place where Lotz’s character Venske resides.

Cold Harbour is an unevenly scripted and confusing crime drama with several characters muddling through an unforgiving landscape and not really coming to any cathartic release.

Instead it’s a mismatch of cultures and characters speaking a range of languages from English, Afrikaans, Xhosa and Chinese without the subtitles being removed once, so even when the characters spoke in South African English subtitles still remained on the screen? This must be to hopefully market Cold Harbour to American audiences who will surely not find any comfort in this thriller and reaffirm the international notion that South Africa is indeed a nation ravaged by crime, poverty and corruption.

As a film about illegal international Perlemoen trading, Cold Harbour had great potential but unfortunately got muddled in its film noir aspirations. Not recommended viewing.

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