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:: Beauty

South African film Beauty is not a film for the faint-hearted. It is graphic and confronting, especially for anybody who has ever been the victim of sexual assault. As a film it tackles some important themes and is clear proof that the South African film industry is alive in well. Beauty (or Skoonheld as it is known in South Africa) follows successful businessman Francois (Deon Lotz) who to the community is a kind-natured man but neither them or his wife, Elena (Michelle Scott) know about his secret life that sees him catching up with other men from group homosexual sex.

Francois’s dark side then reveals itself when he finds himself attracted to Christian (Charlie Keegan) who just happens to be the son of close family friend’s Willem (Albert Maritz) and Marika (Sue Diepeveen) but is also dating Francois’s daughter, Anika (Roeline Daneel).

Director, Oliver Hermanus does a great job making this film suspenseful and while his screenplay has developed an intriguing story and believable characters at times it seems to drag which can be extremely annoying to an audience that are already captivated with intrigue of how the story will play out. Hermanus does however do a wonderful job making the film as natural as possible. At times the dialogue is so believable you feel like you are watching a docco which makes the graphic scenes even more confronting to watch. If that was the director’s intention he sure as hell got that got across.

Deon Lotz also does an amazing job in the role of Francois. He too brings a natural feel to the film and is certainly an actor that you would hope finds international success due to this film. Likewise Charlie Keegan who shows the world that he could take the next step up and become a leading man if he wanted to.

Beauty may be a confronting film but if you can get over that and ignore the slow parts it is a worthy drama thriller.