How to Steal Two Million

A cool, neo-noir South African heist drama, How to Steal Two Million is set to hit local screens in late July, with a cast that includes veteran actors John Kani and Rapulana Seiphemo, as well as Menzi Ngubane of Generations fame, Terry Pheto of the Oscar-winning Tsotsi, and Hlubi Mboya of Isidingo.

The movie tells the story of Jack, an honourable thief who has just emerged from five years in prison for robbery. His partner in crime and best friend Twala was never caught, and Jack never talked. But Twala has proved as treacherous as Jack is loyal by marrying Jack’s former fiancée during his prison term.

On his release Jack decides to go straight. He wants to start a construction business, but when a loan is denied he must find another source of capital. An opportunity presents itself when Twala suggests they do a home invasion with a take of R2-million. The complication is that the mark is Twala’s father, Julius. In his search for a third partner Jack comes across the tough but sexy Olive.

When the robbery goes wrong, secret double-crosses are revealed. Twala never intended to split the money with Jack and planned to kill him all along. As Julius edges closer to finding out who ripped him off and the pressure mounts on the three accomplices the tension builds towards an explosive and surprising finale.

How to Steal Two Million is written and directed by Charlie Vundla, and produced by Michelle Wheatley, Jeremy Nathan, Mfundi Vundla and Karen E Johnson. Indigenous Films is handling distribution.

The film, writer-director Vundla says, was “the culmination of an idea I had for a jazzy cool, modern day noir set against the backdrop of an unnamed African city.

“The film takes places in a sickly, corrupt town where everyone has ulterior motives. This is the world our lead character, Jack, walks into as he leaves prison at the beginning of the film.

“He lives by a strict moral code, he’s a good thief, an honourable man. Unfortunately for him he’s also an anachronism. There is no longer a place for honesty, integrity and keeping ones word in the world he finds himself living in upon his release.

“Although it’s set in a city with no name, I fully embraced the location of modern-day Johannesburg and South Africa through an ironic, witty take on the city of gold and the country as a whole. I feel that a South African filmmaker ignores the realities of this country at his peril. At that same time an un-nuanced portrayal risks becoming a caricature, so I’ve chosen to embrace the realities of this world in a darkly comic, subtle way.

“What is truly exciting to me is that this film is an amalgam of so many great cinematic traditions. Whether it's the noir-ish aspects of the hardened criminal who has just gotten out of prison and is roped into doing one last job, or the attractive femme fatale who isn't quite what she seems. Alongside the voyeuristic tradition of looking into the criminal underworld that audiences have always found fascinating, combined with the dramatic elements of tragedy. But of course the captivating characters are front and centre.

“The movie I’ve made is a dark, operatic, tense, moody, unsentimental tale that I hope viewers will find appealing in terms of character, scenario and aesthetics.”

Download the How to Steal Two Million press pack. Watch the trailer: