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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
Last night, I saw the film "Stander" in a sneak preview at the Kendall. It's been tragically mismarketed, and I've heard the distribution company, Newmarket Films, is pulling it from release for the moment.
That's a tragedy. The film is deeply flawed, but even with its flaws, it's a far better film than almost any that I've seen this year. It's the story of Andre Stander, a South African policeman who robbed over 40 banks in the late '70s and early '80s, at least 20 of them while a policeman, just to prove a white man in South Africa could get away with anything. It ratchets between humor and drama in a way that evokes the cognitive dissonance that living in an apartheid state must have caused. The cinematography is very self-consciously '70s; the film is a little washed out and the framing is frequently odd, but this only adds to the effectiveness of the film. Thomas Jane gives an incredible performance; I've seen him in other movies, but I've never seen him be as sexy, as charismatic, as magnetic or as powerful as he was here, and he manages to do so while rarely having sex or anything near it; it's just his presence. (In other words: Sex. On. A. Stick.) He fell into the category of "men who are not my type", and yet I found him incredibly hot.
I saw it for free. If I had paid $10 to see it, I would not have felt ripped off (and that's rare, for me). If you have the opportunity - if it gets re-released, or if it comes out on video - see it. It's a very good film.
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