Randall (Irshaad Ally) is a small town criminal doing break and enter crimes in Cape Town. Looking to make a big score he borrows from dangerous loan shark Emmie (Danny Ross) to set up a drug deal. The deal goes bad his friend is killed and Randall ends up in a wheelchair now owing $25,000 to a no nonsense loan shark.
Upon his arrival at a rundown apartment, his girlfriend Pam (Monique Rockman) gives him a pair of binoculars to help him pass the time. As he parks his wheelchair by the window he witnesses the death across the way of a dirty cop by apartment block enforcer Lawyer ( David Manuel) The money now in that apartment gives Randal a plan of how he can get the money to repay his debt.
Director Nosipho Dumisa clearly reboots Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window in a grittier South African local. Mobility challenged, Randall's only outlet to the outside world is the binoculars. He trains them around the yard and into windows seeing what is going on in the Cape Flats apartment complex. The director also sets out her shots well mixed with the modern convince of the cell phone to raise the tension as Randall plot begins to unfold to spirit away Lawyer's money.
Irshadd Ally conveys the desperation of his situation and the helpless of his predicament strongly in the film. He is working in a very confined space and has to rely mainly on his verbal and facial reactions to events occurring elsewhere to get his emotions across. Monique Rockman is very effective as Pam. She is the cautious girlfriend at first, reluctant to participate in another of Randall's schemes but when its time to act she is resourceful and resilient. Danny Ross is cool, calm and singleminded in the role of Emmie. Money is owed to him, friendship and circumstances of the debtor do not matter. Debts have to be repaid and no one can get in the way of his recovery.
Number 37 is a thriller that gives more than just a nod to Alfred Hitchcock. The narrative thread thrives in this new setting bringing together Cape Flats realities of poor living conditions, crime, crooked cops and the lure to get rich quick. The cast shines in this up-tempo thriller that I can recommend.
*** Out of 4
Number 37 | Nosipho Dumisa | South Africa | 2018 | 100 Minutes.
Tags: Loan Shark, Drugs, Debt, Wheelchair, Third Floor, Apartment Complex, Blackmail, Interrogation, Payoff, Murder.