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Stander – Review


In 1970s Johannesburg, police captain Andre Stander (Jane) turns against the apartheid regime he serves.
As his own protest against the system, he starts robbing banks – only to return to the scene of his crime, minutes later, to lead the police investigation.
The film tells the true story of the rise and fall of South Africa’s notorious “Stander-gang” of bank-robbers.


The early riot sequence, showing the brutality of apartheid, sets the scene and it’s quickly followed up by the desperate actions of a disillusioned crime-fighter.
But what begins as a political statement degenerates into a typical heist movie which, while it’s based on real life, just doesn’t ring true.
The gang is so bold in the way it carries out its raids – and returns to investigate its own crime – that you can’t believe it took so long for the good cops to catch the bad one.
Somehow, the film seems too lightweight and Jane’s confident performance as the eponymous Stander, along with effective turns from his supporting cast, can’t quite lift what is clearly a labour of love for the film-makers.
As a political thriller, it wimps out. As a heist movie, it’s not a patch on previous offerings from other continents. As a telling of a true story, it’s an interesting and surprising tale, which doesn’t fulfil its potential.

Opens nationwide on 27 May 2005

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