In the early 1980's, a white police officer (Andres Stander, played by Thomas Jane) in Johannesburg suffers a crisis of conscience due to his involvement in apartheid and becomes a notorious bank robber on the run. Then from 1983 to 1984, the "Stander gang" (Stander, Alan Heyl & Patrick McCall) rob as many as four banks a day.Written by
The filmmakers got to talk to Allan Heyl, one of Andre Stander's accomplices who was paroled on May 18, 2005; Cor van Deventer, his police partner; and the warden of the prison where Andre was incarcerated. See more »
On the DVD commentary, director Bronwen Hughes points out that although the Toyi-Toyi's presented in the film are authentic, the AK47 Toyi-Toyi is a later incarnation of the chant, much more aggressive than the one that would have been used in the mid-1970's when the riot scenes take place. See more »
_Stander_ was completely fascinating, from start to finish. I don't know when the last time was I saw a movie that I enjoyed so completely. It really was like some overlooked classic from the early 70s, in the styles and the composition. The colors have just the right washed-out look to make you think this film might be a contemporary of films like _Dog Day Afternoon_ or _Network_. And the settings, the costumes, the cars--all the period details bring us right back to the mid-70s. Never having visited South Africa and not really knowing that much about it, I almost feel like I've had a bit of a crash course in South African history and culture after watching the film. It's amazing that Thomas Jane, who hasn't exactly had the most memorable career to date, could so completely inhabit this character and bring him to life. This is the same guy who was the romantic lead in the insipid _The Sweetest Thing_! And the morose protagonist of _The Punisher_. He needs to keep stretching and looking for these more offbeat roles. And it's always a pleasure to see the beautiful Deborah Kara Unger in a film--here she plays Stander's wife. I won't recount the plot--plenty of other posters have already--but just urge you to rent this movie if you get the chance. It was immensely entertaining.
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