South African western
Five Fingers for Marseilles, from filmmaker Michael Matthews. The film takes place in a small town “governed” by dubious local officials, living in fear of a lawless mob; when an exiled outlaw returns home in search of solace and redemption, brotherhood and loyalty are fused with vengeance. It stars Vuyo Dabula, Hamilton Dhlamini, Zethu Dlomo, Kenneth Nkosi, Mduduzi Mabaso, Aubrey Poolo, Lizwi Vilakazi, Warren Masemola, Dean Fourie, Anthony Oseyemi, Brendon Daniels, and Jerry Mofokeng. The residents of the colonial town of Marseilles are under the thumb of police oppression and only the young rebels known as the Five Fingers are willing to stand up to them. Their battle is just, until Tau kills two policemen and flees the scene.
The remaining rebels disband while the banished Tau resorts to a life of crime. Twenty years later, now known as feared outlaw The Lion of Marseilles, he is released from prison. He returns home, desiring only peace and to reconnect with those he left behind.
The battle for South Africa’s freedom has been won, and former comrades-in-arms are in prominent positions as mayor, police chief, and pastor. But it quickly becomes clear to Tau that Marseilles is caught in the grip of a vicious new threat — and he must reconstitute
the Five Fingers to fight frontier justice. Standing against former allies and new enemies, the re-formed Five Fingers saddle up and ride out, and put their lives at risk to save their beloved Marseilles. The story is a strong commentary on social and economic disparage plaguing this world. In this case a world of post-modern, rural life set in South Africa. It is a full-bodied, complex character study with heart and a hefty dose of classic spaghetti western attitude. The protagonist is a compelling, emotional character that shows all the scares and tribulations of a hard life. Scares he wears effectively on his sleeve. A very convincing performance. The antagonists and varied townsfolk are all equally convincing personals and framed nicely in the story.
The effects are standard, well-done elements one expects in a somewhat violent tome of expressionist folderol which plays out as perfect as any 70's experimental American western. The real effects are the musical score, atmosphere and cinematography. All are exceptional. The film isn't excessively exploitative with the bloodshed or violence, so when it happens it becomes very affectational moments.Overall "Five Fingers For Marseilles" is above average for indie film making. It does move a bit slow but the pace becomes almost hypnotic in its ability to capture your attention and be entertaining. (4/5)