DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema
Sexual tensions heat up between two army recruits, torn between their duties to their hearts and to the South African regime - on Curzon Home Cinema on Friday, April 24th

Nicholas Van der Swart (Kai Luke Brummer) is a white boy in South Africa during the 1980s. He is required to serve the military service for two years, upholding the racist regime. He is also a closet homosexual.

The shy and worried-looking teenager is presented with a lewd magazine, its women presented in various forms of undress. It’s a parting gift, the boy now taking a train journey to adulthood. His carriageway is a claustrophobic decoration of snaffled booze, bravado punches and projectile vomit. He watches one of the men he shares the train with taunt an innocent black bystander for fun. When they arrive at their base, the boys are subject to the gruelling workouts that echo Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket (1987).

It’s a testosterone-fuelled, tough, male-led film, with splashes of gentle and delicate camera work thrown in. The viewer is led on a balletic swoop over the naked bodies as they communally shower. It’s done with elegant flair, silhouetting over the soldiers before landing on the pensive, apprehensive Nicholas. “Moffie” is vulgar slang for a homosexual.

Sachs (Matthew Vey), who holds Nicholas as a close friend, speaks out of turn during an instructional video: he’s subjected to physical and verbal humiliation in front of his classmates. A tiring exercise ends with further disillusionment for the adolescents as they watch their leader throw away the soup he’d long promised them. Digging in torrent rain, Nicholas’s wavering eye is drawn to the smouldering Stassen (Ryan de Villiers). They share their trench and beds together, their eyes meeting with electrical froth. When they return to their dorms, Stassen and Nicholas are prompted to engage in playful fisticuffs and told to “fuck” each other up. In a flashback, the young Nicholas remembers why he shouldn’t look at others in the shower. The verbal punishment he gets would stick in anyone’s memory.

The sexual tension is air-tight, but the director Oliver Hermanus never loses sight of the tense political backdrop from which the film hangs. In a country where identity is everything, to be unsure of yours is devastating. In his way, Nicholas is as beautiful, but as rocky, as the mountains he trains on. Essential viewing.

Moffie is available on Curzon Home Cinema on Friday, April 24th.

By Eoghan Lyng - 29-03-2020

Throughout a journey found through his own writings and the writings of other filmmakers, Eoghan has taken to the spirit of the surreal to find greater meaning from the real. He finds it far easier to...

DMovies Poll

Are the Oscars dirty enough for DMovies?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

Forget Friday the 13th, Paranormal Activity and the [Read More...]
Just a few years back, finding a film [Read More...]
A lot of British people would rather forget [Read More...]
Sexual diversity is at the very heart of [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]
Films quotes are very powerful not just because [Read More...]

Read More

Escape from Pretoria

Francis Annan

Jack Hawkins - 03-03-2020

Daniel Radcliffe and Daniel Webber star in this real-life drama about two white political prisoners who hatch an ambitious plot to escape from prison - on all major VoD platforms on Monday, March 7th [Read More...]


Samuel Maoz

Tiago Di Mauro - 10-09-2017

Dance me to the end of war: lyrical and surreal anti-war movie deals with the relationship between a grieving father and his son serving in the Israeli Army - film won the Silver Lion in Venice last month and it's now in the BFI London Film Festival [Read More...]

The Pearl of Africa

Jonny Von Wallström

Petra von Kant - 14-04-2016

Fighting prejudice in Uganda: the transgender woman who defied `the world's worst place to be gay` [Read More...]