A harrowing and pictorial tale around military conscription in early 1980’s Apartheid is eloquently illuminated by South African filmmaker Oliver Hermanus.
His Moffie (fully subtitled, and a derogatory term in the native tongue) works fairly persuasively from Andre Carl van Der Merwe’s autobiography. As the white minority South African ruling body handles the border conflict with communist Angola.
Kai Luke Brummer brings a subtle, observant quality to stoic Nick Van Der Swat who is immersed in a physical even emotional torturous terrain. His training is doled out by an austerely screeching type (Hilton Peiser).
Getting acclimated to the biases and horror of it all requires a bit of buckling down to stay under the radar. Within the boorish attitudes he finds solace with a new recruit in Stassen (Ryan de Villiers) that cautiously signals a coming-of-age.
Moffie might ease up a bit near the denouement on its poignancy potential, but its steady way around the hardships of its time is still revelatory past during much jingoism and machismo. The fact that it takes valor from young men like Nick to win some of the battles in continuing wars when injustice flourished.
The melodrama is infused well into the more eventful passages of Moffie that allows for passion and joy to resonate in the assaultive heart of darkness on the Savannah. Hermanus’ supportive tracing allows for a sensitive, soulful from Brummer that makes Nick’s awakening empathetic. A pretty potently efficient and even-handed negotiation into the not-so-distant past.