By Jane Rosen
Former SA cricket captain, Hansie Cronje, has been hailed by many as one of the greatest South African cricket players and captains. In 2000, the United Cricket Board banned him for life after allegations were made against him for match fixing. He tragically died in a plane crash in 2002. His brother, Frans Cronje, a producer and screenwriter, has produced a movie entitled Hansie, retelling “the story [of Hansie’s life] as accurately as possible”. The Cronje family hopes to document the truth, moving away from the media hype that surrounded Cronje’s life. There is, however, nothing in this film that tells us more about what drove him to accept the bribery. There is a definite bias in this movie, with Cronje’s own brother being the director and screenwriter.
For a South African film, Hansie is one of the better movies produced. The settings are nicely filmed, accompanied with some real life footage which allows for the movie to come across as quite convincing. Throughout the film there is a blur between the borderlines of a documentary and an overtly sensitive fictional movie.
The role of Hansie is played by Frank Rautenbach. Rautenbach does his best to convey Hansie’s sensitive side, even if his moments of triumph on the field are unrealistic. American actress Sarah Thompson plays Bertha, Hansie’s wife. Although a very beautiful and talented actress, she fails miserably to pull off a South African accent.
Live footage and old photographs are shown during the film credits reminding South Africans what a real hero Hansie was. A truly compelling message is conveyed: “there are many incredible lessons to be learnt from Hansie’s life, his victories, the mistakes that he made and the actions he took to redeem himself”.
There are moments of real heartbreak when Cronje’s life seems to be on track before fate intervenes, resulting in his death. There are moments in the film which reminds one of the time when there was no doubt that Hansie Cronje really was one the greatest cricket captains South Africa has ever seen.