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Nosipho Dumisa’s Number 37, is obviously an homage to Alfred Hirchcock’s Rear Window (1954). And if we cannot call Ms. Dumisa ‘Hitch’ yet, it’s still worthy on its own.

Because of a dirty job gone wrong, Randal is now stick for good to a wheelchair. Violent loan sharks meaning business are on his case and he is already thinking about a next job to get them a ‘refund’. When Pam, his girlfriend, offers him binoculars he instantly becomes a voyeur, watching the whole surroundings of his neighborhood of Cape Town, South Africa. He notices a group of locals transiting large amounts of money and set up a plan as flawless as the one who  puts him on a chair…

Like Randal’s plan, Number 37 is good but with some flaws here and there.

The cast is uneven. The first set of bad guys (the loan sharks) are in no way as menacing as the second set (the ones with the loot). The lead, Irshaad Ally as Randal (he was the lead in the short version of 2014), lacks the Charisma to go beyond confinement. In fact, it is Monique Rockman, as Pam, who totally steals the show. She conveys the feelings and energy to keep things together with a strong presence. A star in the making?

It’s a pretty well shot movie. DOP Zenn van Zyl was already on duty for the 2014’s short version. The pace and narrative are primarily good, but since most movies aren’t shot chronologically, thus continuity being of high importance, you feel at time the gradation of anxiety is oddly uneven from a scene to another (if you cut one of my fingers, let me tell you I’ll still be very upset the next morning. Just saying… ). You also have to accept, dramatically, situations in which people easily let some very large sums of money out of their sight. So, while there is no such thing as bad sequences, it is not every scenes that reaches its full potential. I guess we can live with it.

Still, Nosipho Dumisa managed to offer, with  Number 37, a very promising first feature.

 

Fantasia Screening: Saturday, July 28th, 9:30 PM – Concordia University’s J.A. De Seve Cinema

Official Fantasia Website

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