Tsotsi is a 2005 South African drama film directed by Gavin Hood.
Set in a Soweto slum, near Johannesburg, Presley Chweneyagae plays the eponymous Tsotsi. Originally known as David, Tsotsi's mother died of a terminal illness during his childhood and he ran away from his abusive father. Adopting his present name (which means "street thug" or "gang member" in the vernacular of black South African low class urban areas), he is now a small-time criminal with two hoodlums, Butcher (Zenzo Ngqobe) and Aap (Kenneth Nkosi) under his wing. He has groomed himself to focus exclusively on his own survival; feeling no remorse for the acts he commits. His life is turned upside down, however, when one night, after shooting a woman to steal her car, he finds a baby, the woman's son, in the back seat...
This film provides examples of:
- Kick the Dog: Tsotsi's father breaks his dog's neck.
- Revised Ending: Two alternate endings were filmed, one where Tsotsi is shot dead by the police and another where he is still shot, but escapes. Because both endings were extremes on the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism, Hood decided to Take a Third Option by using neither.
- Setting Update: The original novel was written in the 1970s. Rather than making a period piece, Gavin Hood chose to set it in the present day.
- Sink-or-Swim Fatherhood: Unusually for this trope, hilarity does not ensue.
- Unintentionally Notorious Crime: Tsotsi wounds a woman and steals her car, but was not expecting the baby in the backseat.