On The Border

The Recce

Director: Johannes Ferdinand van Zyl

Cast: Greg Kriek, Christia Visser, Marius Weyers, Grant Swanby, Albert Maritz, Elsabe Daneel, Maurice Carpede

Set in 1981 in Angola and Apartheid South Africa, The Recce seen at the film’s premiere at the Durban International Film Festival (insert website) DIFF 2018, director Johannes Ferdinand van Zyl combines some stylistic flourishes to create a vivid and tense depiction of the experiences of the films main hero Henk Viljoen a Recce who is caught behind enemy lines and presumed Killed In Action.

South African star Greg Kriek brilliantly plays Henk who leaves his pregnant wife Nicola played by Christia Visser behind as he ventures forth deep within enemy territory, behind the Angolan border in a treacherous guerrilla war which claimed many lives and was a clandestine Southern African war of attrition fought by the Apartheid South African government far north in the then Soviet infiltrated Angola, just above Namibia which was then known as South West Africa.

With the dialogue mainly in Afrikaans, The Recce is a brave portrayal of a soldier’s desire to survive in an increasingly cruel and hostile landscape where no one can be trusted.

Grant Swanby (Beyond the River) plays Henk’s English speaking corporal Corporal Le Roux, who realizes that they are all fighting a pointless war in brutal terrain. Also featured in the cast are well known South African stage and screen actor Marius Weyers (Blood Diamond, Gandhi) as the hard-drinking General Piet Visagie and Maurice Carpede as Impi Buthelezi.

Watching The Recce is like watching the Afrikaans version of Peter Berg’s nail biting military drama Lone Survivor and those that enjoy a well-orchestrated war film should see this South African film depicting a distinct period in this country’s history which left an indelible mark on the South African older white male psyche particularly those that were military active in the early 1980’s prior to the transition to democracy in 1994.

Despite some tangential scenes in the film’s first half, director Johannes Ferdinand van Zyl’s The Recce is as engrossing as it is terrifying and has a particularly brilliant ending, one which will shock audiences and leave them questioning the futility of warfare.

Due to its very specific subject matter, The Recce will obviously have more resonance in South Africa than internationally as the film refers to the 1980’s, a turbulent decade in this country’s fascinating and multi-dimensional history.

Strictly for fans of decent war films, The Recce gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10.

Comments are closed.

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
July 2018
M T W T F S S
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  
  • Zoe Saldana’s Cinestar Sets Sci-Fi Anime Series at Crunchyroll
    Crunchyroll is developing “Dark Star Squadron,” a space-opera anime series, in partnership with Zoe Saldana’s Cinestar Pictures production shingle. Crunchyroll also announced that it now has more than 5 million paying subscribers and more than 120 million registered users worldwide. AT&T’s $1.2 billion deal to sell Crunchyroll to Sony Pictures — which owns Crunchyroll competitor […]
    Todd Spangler
  • Charles Randolph-Wright, Debra Martin Chase and Olympian Brian Boitano Team for Netflix Ice Skating Movie
    Charles Randolph-Wright, Debra Martin Chase and Olympic gold medalist Brian Boitano have teamed to produce the Netflix family movie “Take the Ice,” set in the world of synchronized ice skating. Written by Deborah Swisher, “Take the Ice” follows a rebellious 15-year-old named Tisha Moore, who has dreamed of becoming an ice skater her entire life. […]
    Angelique Jackson
  • YouTube Shorts Creators Can Now Start Earning up to $10,000 per Month With Viral Videos
    Starting this month, YouTubers in select countries can vie for a piece of the $100 million YouTube Shorts Fund — if their creations rise to the top of the heap of the most-viral clips. Every month, YouTube says, it will select thousands of eligible creators to claim a payment from the fund, which marks the […]
    Todd Spangler
  • ‘Skate Dreams’ Will Spotlight U.S. Olympic Skateboarding Coach Mimi Knoop
    Jessica Edwards is directing and producing “Skate Dreams,” an upcoming documentary about female skateboarders, as the first Olympic competition for them is underway in Tokyo. Produced by Film First, the Brooklyn-based shingle Edwards founded in 2010, the documentary will chronicle the rise of female skateboarding from its origins to its international debut as an Olympic […]
    Ethan Shanfeld
  • Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga Reveal ‘Love for Sale,’ Cole Porter Tribute Album Said to Be Bennett’s Last
    As Tony Bennett celebrates his 95th birthday, and he and Lady Gaga prepare for a two-night stand at Radio City Music Hall beginning tonight, reps for the singer and Lady Gaga have revealed the title, concept and track list for their second collaborative album, “Love for Sale,” a Cole Porter tribute. The Oct. 1 release […]
    Chris Willman
  • Read More
    Different providers offer different cell phones, so take a look at the options from each provider to choose the right one for you. You may also want to look into any promotions that the providers have to offer, such as free cell phones in exchange for signing a contract. Tags: 2gmhass90