In The Queenstown Kings, an upcoming football prodigy is forced to reconnect with his father after the sudden death of his grandfather. The sports-drama film is now streaming on Netflix.
Malusi “Mkhulu” Mahamba (Patrick Ndlovu), a legend in South African football, dies in the middle of a match where his grandson, Fezile (Likhona Mgali), is the striker.
Fezile’s father, Buyile (Zolisa Xaluva), is currently a professional footballer but is considered washed up. Fezile was brought up by his mother, Xoliswa (Enhle Mbali Mlotshwa), and Fana (Unaki Faku), who is also Buyile’s brother.
Buyile left Xoliswa when she was pregnant and never formed a bond with Fezile. After Malusi’s death, Buyile comes back to town to visit and attempts to connect with him.
After Buyile is caught drunken driving, he volunteers to assist Fana in coaching The Queenstown King. Fezile is. The team’s striker.
Buyile tries to form a bond with his son but Fezile remains distant to him, not even considering him his father. Will they connect and take The Queenstown Kings to success?
Mgali, Xaluva and Faku are all excellent in their roles. The casting deserves praise as all of them actually do look like they could be related.
Fezile and Buyile’s relationship is a complicated aspect of the film, but both actors pull it off convincingly.
Although the film is based on football, it’s the bonds and emotions that take centre stage in The Queenstown Kings.
At the forefront is Fezile’s relationship with Buyile. The latter has never made an attempt to connect and their interaction is far from smooth.
The film never forces their bond. It comes gradually and feels natural. There’s no sudden moment that unravels years of hostility.
Another important element of the film is Fana and Buyile’s relationship. Fana thinks of his brother as irresponsible, but his attitude slowly changes as he sees the effort Buyile puts in for Fezile and the team.
The Queenstown Kings excels in exploring the various connections, and the conclusion wraps it up beautifully.
There are various instances that show the dire conditions in some local South African towns. In one instance, a player pulls out a gun in anger.
The creators don’t hold back in showing the reality and seamlessly blending it with a narrative based on football.
While the locality and atmosphere feels authentic, the sport doesn’t. Some players don’t look like they’ve ever played.
A huge problem with sports films is their entire disregard for rules and regulations in favour of emotional angles.
Fezile switches teams on a whim just to serve as a conflict in the narrative. Sport doesn’t work like that, especially at the level the film tries to portray.
More homework on football could have gone a long way. It’s not enough to throw around ‘Cristiano’ and ‘Mourinho’ to make it a football film.
Watch The Queenstown Kings for the characters and their interpersonal relationships. If you’re a football fan and want to give it a try for the sport, it’s going to disappoint.
The Queenstown Kings
Director: Jahmil X.T. Qubeka