Quick Movie Review: Stander – 2003 – directed by Bronwen Hughes

Posted: March 12, 2013 in Thriller
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Andre Stander, one of South Africa’s best police officers. After witnessing the slaughter of innocents at the hands of the Apartheid system (some by his own hands) he becomes disillusioned. One day he decides on his lunch break he decides to rob a bank (as you do). He loved the rush so continued until he was finally caught. In prison he meets Lee McCall and Allan Heyl. They successfully escape and on the outside from ‘the Stander Gang’ and continue to execute elaborate bank heists. (a bit like a modern Robin hood. Except without the giving to the poor. Although they never take from anyone other than the bank.) Eventually their time will run out, but will they escape unscathed?

Based on the real life exploits of Andre Stander during the 1970’s, ‘Stander’ sets out to show the remarkable story to the world and to try and get into the mind of Stander.

Playing the title role is the amazing Thomas Jane who for me is a very underrated actor. He’s appeared in lots of films but it wasn’t really until ‘Deep Blue Sea’ that he truly got in the limelight. he’s since been in ‘The Punisher’ ‘The Mist’, ‘Mutant Chronicles’ (was an ok film but he was pretty awesome in it as always.) just to name a few. Here he isn’t his usual action hero. He feels very much like you would expect the real Stander to have been. He’s likeable but never over the top and he has flaws like everyone does. Lee McCall is played by the equally great Dexter Fletcher, who in my view doesn’t get given enough good roles. His character is much the same as Stander in the fact he is likeable while sitting in that grey area.

The film is beautifully shot and directed which helps emphasise the great script. The pacing of the film is pretty much spot on (possibly loses a little during the prison section) and the film never feels boring. That is not to say it is an action film. It’s more a crime thriller that happens to have some action scenes (Think ‘Road to Perdition’ or ‘Bonnie and Clyde’. although not as good as either of those)

Essentially everything comes together to create a great film that is highly watchable time and time again. (Although never truly breaking into the level of brilliance of some other heist flicks) 7/10

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