More personal and ambitious than Stanley's killer-android debut Hardware, this boldly juxtaposes murder, magic and South African politics. A near-wordless opening reel leads us into a nightmarish world of mysticism and ritual slaughter. Drawn to the drought-ridden town of Bethany by the smell of death, shape-shifting 'Hitcher with No Name' (Burke) kills and dismembers a lonely young woman who picks him up. While the hitcher feeds off the despair of others, including fugitive wife Field, local policeman Mokae enlists the help of a half-mad, half-blind cinema projectionist in his search for a suspected serial killer. The non-linear storyline relies more on atmosphere than forward momentum, and the tone veers wildly between dream-like mysteriousness and indulgent incomprehensibility. A sidewinder snaking across a dune, hazy desertscapes, and an extraordinary scene in a sand-filled cinema are evidence of a visionary talent. But Field's vacant performance, some poorly realised dream sequences, the leaden dialogue, and a mortuary scene with Sägebrecht are grim.
Cast and crew
Robert Burke Chelsea Field Zakes Mokae Marianne Sägebrecht William Hootkins Rufus Swart