Film Review for Movieguide
Hansie is a compelling true story of the famous cricket captain who led the South African team to beat the world champions and then was destroyed by an extra-ordinary media campaign. It is a powerful warning against the dangers of fame and fortune and a God honoring drama of Redemption.
Quality: 4 stars
Released: in South Africa Sept. 24, 2008
Starring: Frank Rautenbach, Sarah Thompson, Eric Nobbs, Sybel Coetzee, Brandon Auret, David Sherwood, David Minaar
Running Time: 127 minutes
Content: (CCC, BBB, M)
Summary: Hansie is a compelling true story of the famous cricket captain who led the South African team to beat the world champions and then was destroyed by an extra-ordinary media campaign. It is a powerful warning against the dangers of fame and fortune and a God honoring drama of Redemption.
Review: Unlike the rest of my family, not being much interested in cricket, I went to the opening night of the Hansie movie with trepidation.
I was most surprised and impressed by the compelling story, well presented, with a rare depth and honesty. The cinematography is excellent. The award-winning Director, Regardt van den Bergh, has achieved a polished and professional production with remarkable depth and Spiritual power.
The title role is played by Frank Rautenbach with passion. He clearly did a tremendous amount of research into the character and uncannily portrays him most accurately. Frank must have also undertaken a rigorous physical training routine to attain the peak of fitness necessary for the role.
The script is based upon The Hansie Cronjé Story which was published in June 2005 and rapidly became a bestseller.
The film begins with Hansie Cronjé smashing Aussie spin king, Shane Warne, for a six at the Wanderers. It was here on the first ever one-day international that Shane Warne didn’t take a wicket and Hansie was established as a national cricket hero.
Hansie captains the South African Proteas during their re-emergence into the world sporting arena. Under Hansie’s leadership the South African team knock Australia off the top spot and become the world’s best test and one-day team. Hansie’s easy smile, confident attitude and upright lifestyle make him a much loved public figure throughout the cricket world.
The film honestly portrays the cricketer’s frustration with political interference and pressure to adhere to racial quotas while trying to defeat some of the best cricket teams in the world.
The insidious curse of gambling and the deviousness of the Indian bookmakers is squarely faced. As is the foolish contact and tragic compromises of Hansie with the Indian bookies. Although he never threw a match, or co-operated with their pressure for rigging, he very unwisely accepted gifts from them. Later when he continued to resist their attempts to rig results they chose to expose his contacts with them and destroy his reputation internationally.
“How do you start over once you have betrayed a nation’s trust?” The posters for this new film state the premise of the drama. The story sent shock waves throughout the nation and the cricketing world. Hansie Cronjé, South Africa’s cricket captain, one of the most beloved public figures, had admitted to having contact with Indian bookmakers and accepting gifts from them.
The same media and public which had skyrocketed Hansie to popular prominence now turned on him with a vengeance. He was stripped of his captaincy, the support of his former team mates, and the respect of an entire nation. The cricket administrators imposed a crushing lifetime ban forbidding Hansie to ever play cricket again. The national and international television and newspaper media humiliated him further with the most vindictive dissection of his life.
Yet, Hansie never blamed anyone else, but took the full responsibility upon himself, confessing and apologising to the nation, and giving full disclosure of all aspects of the sordid saga before the 2000 King Commission. Yet his courageous confession was further abused by the media to attempt to destroy any remaining respect for the man. The film honestly portrays the emotionally drained and depressed, broken Hansie and his arduous journey back from the brink of career suicide. The role of his Christian faith, in his remarkable recovery, makes his an incredibly inspiring redemptive story.
Global Creative Studios should be congratulated for such a positive, God-honouring world class production. Shot throughout South Africa, and in India, Australia and England, it conveys an accurate and well-balanced account of Cronjé’s rise and fall - and recovery. This is a film that you can take the whole family to. And do be sure to stay for the end credits. The collage of family photos and dramatic sports events are brilliantly edited and give even further insight to an amazing sportsman and Christian gentleman.
The film is also a much needed reminder that fame and fortune are fleeting and what really matters is loving God and those He has placed around us.
Review by Dr. Peter Hammond,