“Wild is the Wind” is a test of relationships -Peju Akande
And test of character
Cast: Mothusi Magano, Frank Rautenbach, Chris Chameleon, Abigail Matsoso, Nicolus Moitoi, Izel Bezuidenhout.
Director: Fabian Medea
Wild is the wind is a story of colour, relationships, greed, corruption and every vice known to man.
It is a story of brotherhood formed in a segregated community; one that race and colour has no hold on until character comes in and upends everything.
It’s about two police men, one white, the other black; brothers at arms, bound by a mantra, “Always forward… only together.” A mantra that serves a friendship and brotherhood for years preceding the scenes the audience begins to view.
The three characters we see at the opening scene are the two friends; corrupt police officers. One white, John, (Frank Rautenbach) the other black, Vusi, (Mothusi Magano). They have stopped a lone white driver, Wilhem, (Chris Chameleon) on a deserted highway. We see Wilhem telling Vusi, “Listen officer, I want to thank you for giving me this lucky break, from now on I will always stick to the speed limit.” Wilhem then empties his wallet and hands the wads of currency to Vusi while John, his partner watches.
Wilhem asks, “…is that enough?”
We soon see in seconds that Wilhem has a bloodied black girl crying for help in his trunk. Her muffled cries are stifled not just because of the gag on her mouth but also because of the bribe the police pocket, thus letting a criminal go free.
With a killer on the loose, events go south in this gritty South African thriller set in a racially segregated country where race is key and the desire for money is feverish.
But race or not, love for illicit wealth or not, what quickly unravels reminds us that deep down whether white or black, poor or rich, man can essentially be categorized into two slots:
Good or Evil.
Three years after the bribe, Wilhem the killer is still active. His activities are bolder as he continues to murder young girls of color. The murders are not investigated and so the killer continues his spree.
The police aren’t too concerned about these murders because the victims are mostly blacks or coloureds and poor. Besides, there are other issues the police claim to be grappling with- drugs, gangs and yeah, maybe traffic.
Things take a turn, however, when the killer murders a young white girl, Melissa Van de Valt (Izel Bezuidenhout), who is the niece of the Mayor of the town. Her gruesome death leads to a manhunt never seen before in the community.
The sleepy police precinct wakes up especially after the Mayor storms the station, threatening fire and offering a ransom for the killer.
This motivates John not just for the money but because the murdered girl is the daughter of his friend. He wants justice!
Ha, justice in this community long deprived of one?
Vusi on the other hand wants nothing to do with the investigation as he and John have already made a deal with a drug Lord Mongo. The two cops had killed and stolen a stash of cocaine from a rival gang and sold to Mongo. They both want to give their families a good life from their illicit deal. A deal that spells freedom for both of them, though in different ways.
For Vusi, who’s wife is pregnant, freedom is the hope of giving his new baby a new life; away from the poverty in the shanty town he calls home. His partner, John, who unsurprisingly lives in a better neighborhood, is planning to buy back his family land from the expected proceeds of the drug sale.
Everything seems set. The brothers-at-arm have a plan that is almost foolproof.
But plans change.
A white girl is gruesomely murdered and the audacity of this crime as shakes the community that has hitherto been blinded to other crimes against other races. John promises Melissa’s father that he will help him find the killer, a promise Vusi didn’t want him making.
He tells John, “Don’t make promises you can’t afford to keep…I’m going to collect the money and I’m going to leave.” To which John replies, “It’s not your fight because I’m a cop or because she’s white?”
Thus begins the unravelling of their friendship and brotherhood.
Wild is the Wind also has a subplot where colour itself is a character and injustice its companion. The audience begins to think that Melissa may have been murdered for having a black boyfriend, Sonnyboy, (Nicolus Moitoi). To think that of all the white boys in her community she chooses a black gang member!
But love knows no barrier. it knows no race or creed!
When Sonnyboy gets the rap for the murder, injustice rears its ugly head…again and love, even for a fellow human being takes a back seat.
While John sees this murder as getting “justice” for the murdered white girl, Vusi does not, he asks, “How many black children were killed this year? How many of their cases were solved? How many of them had the fxcking department out at 3 o’clock in the morning?”
What follows looks like a betrayal of trust and failed relationships. For brothers who steal together, plan together and seem to have each other’s back, this is one case that will pit them against each another. Vusi and his wife are separated because of drug money; Melissa and her white ex-boyfriend fall out because of Sonnyboy, her parents fight because of her death…
As the scenes unravel, conscience also becomes a character; one that befriends Vusi but distances itself from John.
Vusi has nightmares. John is charged with a righteous indignation against a “killer” who must be a black gang member.
The final scenes see Vusi do the right thing. He just might have been too late or his effort, too little and too late in a community that may never heal.
Wild is the Wind is currently streaming on Netflix.