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Based on a Deon Meyer short story, Jagveld tells the story of primary school teacher Emma le Roux (Leandie du Randt) as she heads home for the holidays. She hopes to have a quiet holiday at home with her father, ex-special forces soldier Jacques le Roux (Tertius Meintjies), in the Karoo. Along the way, however, she finds a group of men involved in a drug syndicate and witnesses a crime that results in Bosman (Neels van Jaarsveld) the mastermind, Baz (Tim Theron), Jay (Bouwer Bosch), AJ (Danie Putter), Boela (Edwin van der Walt), and Piet (Luan Jacobs), chasing her down in order to leave no loose ends. They make a mistake in chasing Emma, as she has been trained from a young age to protect herself.
The Afrikaans action thriller is an exciting step for the Afrikaans film industry. Jagveld as a whole is an enjoyable and exciting film, although it does fall short on the technical side. Being set in the Karoo, the film gives beautiful wide angle shots of the landscape while incorporating spectacular close-ups. These cinematographic achievements are somewhat dulled by the constant red filter that causes the great camera work to look sloppy and cheap. The excellent script is eclipsed by poor acting by some actors, which causes the dialogue to sound stunted and unnatural. The character development is also underwhelming as various characters’ back stories are scattered throughout the film in a confusing jumble of flashbacks that don’t provide enough information by the end.
Despite the film’s technical failures, it still succeeds in pleasing audiences at the end. Jagveld adapts classic action film tropes to a South African storyline in a very satisfying way, with a main character that genuinely lives up to the action genre. The villains are excitingly psychopathic and the film does not spare any gore in the fight scenes. Audiences are treated to a classic western-style shootout that, while cliché, throws back to classic action films.