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Op Pad Na Jou Hart
DIRECTOR: Jaco Smit
CAST: Ivan Botha, Donnalee Roberts, Marius Weyers, Anton Dekker, Franci Swanepoel, Marcel van Heerden, Carmen Coetzer, David James
CLASSIFICATION: 7-9 PG V
RUNNING TIME: 117 minutes
STRONGLY scripted and well paced, this is a sweet Afrikaans road trip movie with a heavy rom-com leaning and English sub-titles. Even when you guess where its headed, it is all about the journey.
Ivan Botha plays successful businessman Basson van Rensburg as a self-contained playboy, smooth, slightly arrogant, not exactly interested in making friends.
As per his father’s last wish, Basson has to get to a Cape Town funeral from Joburg in five days, with a few strategic pit stops along the way, and then he can take control of the family business outright.
While dad has planned the trip to teach his son a few life lessons, life has its own way of waylaying travellers, this time courtesy of Amory (Roberts), the girl with the slingshot, stranded because of a flat wheel.
Okay, throw the “Bohemian” girl (oh yes, it’s a word they use in the movie) with her fuzzy logic and crocheted tops into a jalopy with the logical, emotionally distant guy and we can see how this is going to pan out.
What keeps you watching is partly the gorgeous landscape, partly the eccentric people they meet and partly the believable chemistry between the two.
She has a bucket list so there are some obvious things to do as they drive through the Karoo, but it is in the unexpected stops, like that Moonlight Festival that simply has to be in Wilderness, where you find the happy.
The creepily smiling guy at the car hire place and those happy trippy hippies are just some of the characters who stand out, though it is a totally charming moment when we see Johan and Lida Botha pop up in an old age home.
The old pictures of the two of them as their younger selves are particularly nostalgic.
Jacques Koudstaal’s cinematography turns the South African landscape into another character, from the steely, leeched-off intensity tones of Basson’s Joburg flat through the arid Karoo with its dusty, muted colours to the greens of Wilderness and the Cape for the resolution of the story for both characters.
This detailed tonal change also mirrors Basson’s emotional growth.
He meets some family he didn’t know, deals with some daddy issues and learns to see the world through someone else’s eyes.
Amory has her bucket list for her own character progression, and Roberts nicely downplays the “there’s something wrong with me, but I can’t talk about it” aspect of the character.
Though both characters have their issues they are both actually fairly normal and their story arcs are not so far-fetched that they are not believable, making them both grounded and relatable.
The soundtrack is well chosen, featuring songs from Karen Zoid, Heuwels Fantasties and Dans Dans Lisa to new tracks from Joe Foster and Adam, all part of a nicely aggressive marketing campaign on the part of the filmmakers.
If you liked Jimmy in Pienk or Fanie Fourie’s Lobola, you will like this.