Hansie All regions. Junglee R299
Hansie Cronje bowled useful medium-pace and was a fine lower-middle-order batsman. His greatest contribution, though, was his leadership of a South African side still fresh from its reintroduction to world cricket after the apartheid years. His popularity made it all the more difficult for his countrymen to adjust to the match-fixing revelations that attached themselves to Cronje in 2000. He eventually confessed, was banned for life, and dropped out of the public eye. Two years later, he died in a plane crash.
It’s almost impossible to get sport right on screen without a substantial budget. Hansie, a 2008 biopic co-written and produced by Hansie’s brother Frans Cronje, evidently didn’t have the luxury of one, which results in some dicey attempts at recreating key matches. Most of the actors look very little like the players they’re portraying (Allan Donald is the worst offender). The script piles on cliché after cliché, but the biggest problem with the film is that we never get a real sense of why Cronje (Frank Rautenbach) betrayed his nation’s trust (it’s implied that the bookies badgered him into it). The film doesn’t cover up Cronje’s misdeeds, but it’s still a very sympathetic portrait. Most fans have definite views on whether Hansie ought to be remembered with some degree of kindness. Hansie will do little to change that opinion.
By Uday Bhatia on May 25 2012 10.06am