Death of a Snowman

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"Rougher & Tougher than Anything You Have Seen Before"
  • R
  • 1978
  • 1 hr 26 min
  • 4.8  (106)

In 1976, the world was introduced to the crime thriller movie, Death of a Snowman, directed by Christopher Rowley, who is known for his documentaries and short films. The plot revolves around an investigation in Johannesburg, South Africa, led by a British detective, Detective Sergeant Cooper (played by Nigel Davenport), who is aided by a local policeman, Detective Sergeant Zondi (Ken Gampu), to solve a string of murders that have been happening in the city.

The movie starts with the brutal murder of a white man, who is found dead in his car by a railway station. The case is quickly handed over to Detective Sergeant Cooper, who is known for his efficiency and determination. Despite his experience, Cooper realizes that he has limited knowledge about the local area of Johannesburg and its people. Hence, he requests the help of Detective Sergeant Zondi, a local policeman, who has a better understanding of the region's nuances and politics.

As the investigation progresses, they discover a link between the murdered man and a notorious group of drug dealers, who are known to operate in the region. The detectives find themselves in a dangerous situation as they get closer to the truth, finding themselves in the middle of a conspiracy that involves corruption, drugs, and murder.

The two detectives and their team of officers go undercover to discover more about the group's operation, but the criminal mastermind behind the murders outwits them. They discover that the man behind the drug ring is a white man called Kramer (played by Peter Dyneley), who is the head of a local neo-Nazi group. Despite their best efforts, the two detectives find themselves in the middle of a life-threatening situation when Kramer discovers that they are trying to expose him.

Death of a Snowman is a movie, which deals with racism and corruption prevalent during the apartheid era in South Africa. The movie brings to light the struggles of the people, both black and white, who fought against apartheid and racism. It captures the gritty, dangerous, and unpredictable atmosphere of Johannesburg during the mid-1970s.

The fantastic performances of the cast elevate the storyline, which at times can be intense and shocking as the detectives become involved in such a violent underworld. Nigel Davenport delivers a standout performance as the determined and resourceful detective, Cooper. He provides a strong foundation to the film's plot by giving the audience a real sense of his drive to solve the case and his belief in justice.

Ken Gampu's acting as Detective Sergeant Zondi also deserves special mention. His performance as an African police officer who values his traditions, culture, and heritage is both eye-opening and heart-wrenching. His role is essential to the film, as he provides a cultural context to the story and offers valuable insight into the struggles and life of the people of Johannesburg.

The film's cinematography adds to the gritty and raw atmosphere of Johannesburg. The city is shown in all its vibrant and dark aspects, from the busy markets to the slums and the gang-infested neighborhoods. This approach to capturing the city's emotions and environment gives the film a sense of authenticity that helps immerse the audience fully into the story.

More than just a crime thriller, Death of a Snowman is a brilliant snapshot of a troubled time in South Africa's history. The film deals with the difficult and sometimes uncomfortable topics of racism, corruption, and violence, while showing that justice, no matter the color of someone's skin, is paramount. It is a compelling movie, that will keep you gripped until the very end.

Death of a Snowman
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 26 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    4.8  (106)