South African movie Skeem – scheme, make a plan, hustle – is nearly a decade old but it’s just as funny now as when it premiered at the end of 2011 at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, where it won the Audience’s Choice Award.
Written, directed and edited by Tim Greene, Skeem has a wonderful cast of local actors, including comedian Kurt Schoonraad, classically trained Terence Bridgett, prolific Grant Swanby, as well as Wandile Molebatsi, Kenneth Nkosi, Michelle Scott and Casey B Dolan. It’s large cast because this is a classic caper film, which requires many characters to carry out their almost farcical plans to get their hands on the prize.
The plot revolves around two buddies whose car breaks down, and they find a cardboard box filled with cash. This is revealed to all and sundry after they arrive at one of those typically South African resorts (only in the loosest sense of the word) which are in the middle of nowhere and inhabited by some very strange people.
Weird they may be but they are united in their greedy lust for the money, and will do whatever it takes to claim it for themselves. And thus the scene is set for a series of events that all play off each other.
Greene said he wanted to create a film South Africans could watch that they could be proud of and “doesn’t beat them up, lash them and make them feel like watching South African films is like penance”. It’s an interesting comment from the archives about homegrown film making, which has progressed in leaps and bounds since then; it’s certainly no hardship at all to watch local efforts today.
The title track for the film, “Ons behoort mos saam“, was sung by Jack Parow and EJ von Lyrik.
IMDB rating: 6.7/10