South African funny man Leon Schuster is back with a hearty family film just in time for the festive season. In true Schucks style, it brings slapstick comedy rooted with a powerful thread of being fearless, the importance of relationships and fighting for what’s right.
Sonny Frank (Leon Schuster) and twelve year old Fearless (Themba Ntuli), including his dog, Dog, band together in an unlikely trio to travel to Pretoria in order to stop the rhino poaching. Frank however, desperate for a way to the capital, has other intentions. The journey to Pretoria is filled with some strange, wonderful and sometimes silly encounters as they also try to avoid Dolf, head ranger of the wildlife sanctuary where a recent poaching incident took place and Frank’s rival.
Leon Schuster’s comedy is something you either love or you don’t. His signature style is something audiences know well and have learnt to suspend their disbelief. However, in this film Themba Ntuli’s commitment to his character and his ability to captivate you with his emotions, gives the film more depth. The topic of rhino poaching is relevant, incredibly serious and in much need of awareness not only to local audiences, but abroad too. Ntuli confidently and quickly wins the audience’s affection and Schusters comedy tricks fall into the background, lightening the weight of a heavy storyline. Schuster plays one character throughout the film this time as Sonny Frank which resembles a little bit of every character he’s played before, but Frank feels more tangible and complex.
The cinematography is good, with vivid and bright colours against the brown and dusty African landscape. Over emphasised sound effects and sped up scenes resemble that of an animation, and the soundtrack is truly South African giving any local a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.
Frank and Fearless is a great comedy film with a touching story, with a South African core and universal themes. There are some truly funny moments and others worth only a small chuckle or knowing smile. The cast is fantastic including Kenneth Nkosi, Khanyi Mbau, David Dennis and Camila Waldman, just to name a few, who take on their roles very seriously no matter how outrageous they may seem.
Frank and Fearless opens 23 November 2018 nationwide.
Directed by Gray Hofmeyr
Script by Gray Hofmeyr, Leon Schuster and Geoff Newton
Produced by Andre Scholtz and Menzi Thabede
All photos with permission from MS Publicity, by Dehan Janse Van Rensburg.