Bernardo Villela is like a mallrat except at the movies. He is a writer, director, editor and film enthusiast who seeks to continue to explore and learn about cinema, chronicle the journey and share his findings.
This is a post that is a repurposing of an old-school Mini-Review Round-Up post. As stated here I am essentially done with running multi-film review posts. Each film deserves its own review. Therefore I will repost, and at times add to, old reviews periodically. Enjoy!
This is a South African film of some acclaim, which I sought a foreign region DVD of since its US distribution is more doubtful the further from its initial domestic release we get*. Spud was nominated for six South African Film and Television Awards (the foreign award is something I may touch upon in November+) and an adaptation of a famous novel series. The film stars Troye Sivan (most well known from YouTube or Wolverine) and John Cleese. The film sets as a backdrop the momentous events of 1990 and the release of Nelson Mandela, but what it focuses mainly on is a funny, occasionally touching, tale that’s a dawn of awareness, and coming out of one’s shell. It’s an appropriately episodic tale, that moves well for the most part and features great, surprising and fitting songs as well.
Spud 2: The Madness Continues is a follow-up to the film Spud. Like the cinematic predecessor before it this one is also based on a novel by John van de Ruit which tells a coming-of-age tale at a boys boarding school in South Africa. While the first film takes place against the end of apartheid and is very much Spud’s tale, the sequel begins to tell the story in the immediate aftermath thereof and is more an ensemble piece than the prior film.
It is the nuclear subplot in the film that is the most effective. In John (“Spud” Troye Sivan’s) home where his mother (Julie Summers) is insisting she wants to move to England for she feels she cannot adapt to the new South African reality, whereas Spud and his father (Aaron McIlroy) are perfectly content where they are.
While the romantic storyline is followed up from the first film and some good growth is shown there the film essentially ends up being too sporadic. Again there is a schoolyear-long structure to the story. The major difference here is that the flow is not nearly as good. That and the other members of the Crazy Eight (Spud’s group of friends) get more screentime in less substantive and interwoven manners than in the first installment. Add that to the emergence of the Normal Seven (A group of first years who are singled out and hazed for their normality by the Crazy Eight). Then when you add the late-game re-emergence and lessening of The Guv (John Cleese) the attentions are divided and the plot spread thin.
There are some laughs and good times to be had but eventually the trudging narrative does wear a bit. A misstep in the follow-up in a series is not unusual. With a third film released in South Africa in November and hitting iTunes globally this year hopefully the series concludes on a better note.