Directed by Donovan Marsh, ‘I Am All Girls’ is a South African mystery thriller movie written by Wayne Fitzjohn and Marcell Greeff, and starring Deon Lotz, Erica Wessels, and Masasa Mbangeni. In 1994, a girl Ntombizonke Bapai is kidnapped with many other young girls and brought to the compound of National Party cabinet minister FJ Nolte (Deon Lotz), where several of them are sold into human trafficking. After she is “used up”, she and other women during this ring are sent to a low-end brothel, where their lives in the dark world continue. Years later, Ntombizonke (Hlubi Mboya) works with the police beside Jodie Snyman (Erica Wessels). Following another unsuccessful trafficking bust, Jodie has pushed aside from following these forms of cases and instead assigned a murder case. She shortly discovers that this murder – one that left a deviate dead in a very park with initials engraved into his chest – is connected to the sex trafficking crimes she has been investigating all along.
One of the central themes of ‘I Am All Girls’ is that the psychological burden suffered by police officials — particularly those accountable for cases of murder, violence, and human trafficking. It seems as if Jodie’s work is her whole life, and all she’s able to do is obsess over every minute detail of the investigation. This might create sensible investigation, not essentially good personal or personal relations. She isn’t the most popular person in the office; her boss and she clash on several things, and he orders her to take a day off work as she’s exhibiting signs of post-traumatic stress.
Sex trafficking – particularly the trafficking of youngsters – is such a fragile topic, so tough to portray sensitively on screen. Fortuitously, ‘I Am All Girls’ tackles this significant subject matter with nice sensitivity and significance, keeping things implied and permitting those horrific thoughts to speak for themselves. ‘I Am All Girls’ wouldn't work without Donovan Marsh’s compassionate direction; however, he manages to tell a story equal elements exasperating, thrilling, and emotionally poignant.
Both leading women do spectacular work, however, Hlubi Mboya is just extraordinary as avenging angel Ntombizonke Bapai. She is the beating heart of ‘I Am All Girls’, took courage for her co-workers at the department of local government, and shedding tears (and taking revenge) behind closed doors. Mboya simply has one in all those faces; you cannot look away, and there is so much understood from simply a look or a sigh. Pair her stunning performance along with her chemistry with Erica Wessels, and you get something incredible.
What sets ‘I Am All Girls’ apart from others is the fact that two ladies are the backbone of this tale. Not solely are Jodie and Ntombi’s journeys powerful, however, their relationship with one another resonates. There is such a deep love there, even before the two of them appear to grasp it, and that’s massively due to the chemistry between performers Hlubi Mboya and Erica Wessels, however attributable to sensible writing and direction. Knowing what they both have invested in this world and they make every twist and switch-hit that a lot tougher. A movie regarding the corruption that permits such crimes against humanity like sex trafficking to exist would have been attention-grabbing enough, but these leading women flip this story into something extraordinarily special.
Overall, ‘I Am All Girls’ is a solid thriller disenchanted by some questionable editing that spoils a giant reveal at the opening five minutes of the film. Despite that, there is enough to love here, and therefore the topic of trafficking is handled with respect and care, wrapping everything up nicely by the end. It may not be the best thriller story of the year but it's still worth watching.
Final Score – [7/10]
Reviewed by – Ritika Kispotta
Follow her @KispottaRitika on Twitter (https://twitter.com/KispottaRitika)
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