Whilst it has nothing like the level of opacity that his famous debut is said to have, Durban Poison remains confounding despite a story that ultimately has very little to say about its characters, or the society in which they live. The fact that it portrays poor white Africans may mark it out as something relatively unique, but it never delves deep enough to make it feel striking, or relevant. The two performances from the leads are solid, but they are let down by their drastically under-developed roles. Joline is by far the more intriguing of the two and despite being a non-professional, Roberts is up to the task, but even she struggles to breathe much relatable life into her character.
The rest of the cast is very hit-and-miss (perhaps a little more miss) but similarly nobody has anything to get their teeth into. This film has supposedly been in the offing for a number of years but it defies belief that these characters and plotting have been in gestation for twenty years and this was the result. There's a neat - if rather obvious - revelation late on, but it hardly saves Durban Poison from being ultimately underwhelming, or explain quite why Worsdale has been drawn to this overly familiar story for quite so long.
The 57th BFI London Film Festival takes place from 9-20 October, 2013. For more of our LFF 2013 coverage, simply follow this link.