Alison: Review

Alison, a tale of monsters, miracles and hope. When left for dead outside of town, raped, disembowelled, her throat slit, the perpetrators of this savage attack on a young girl would have been sure she would not survive. Yet she became her own hero, with great inner-strength and a will to live, Alison is able to get to a road and is spotted by passing motorists who come to her aide.

Following on from the critically acclaimed, and fast-selling book, this film is the true story of Alison Botha brought to the big screen. Played with aplomb by Christia Visser (Planet of the Sharks, Ballade vir ‘n Enkeling), with a stillness that mirrors the real person she is portraying. While we are spared the gory visuals of the attack through framing and lighting, the thought of what was done to Alison on that fateful night plays through, conveying the savagery of this brutal assault on another human being. Once these monsters leave, it is nothing but sound that chills the audience, with the rasping of a severed windpipe, as Alison struggles for each breath. It is here that reality will set in for the audience, as each viewer begins to realise, this really happened.

The film plays out as a documentary feature, with a mix of re-enactments and archive footage to support the testimonies of those who were involved in the initial incident and it’s aftermath. Yet these interviews take on the ensemble parts of a fairy tale, from the nicknames assigned to each to the typeface of lettering, reminding us that to some this horror would be merely a nightmare, while others only wish it was just a dream.

Audiences would be hard-pressed not to be moved or stirred by this story. Not on the horrific events, although these are disturbing to ponder in themselves, but to see the courage and strength summoned by one person, and that they then made it their life’s mission to pass this on to others around the world through literature and talks.

Alison, as a film is well rounded, with each aspect of it’s production assembled to high standard. The content of the story, as presented, is clear and concise. There is no glamorisation, oft found in works of fiction, there are just the hard facts, to the point, and not a moment of time wasted dwelling on any tangent. Audiences are sure to take inspiration from this.

Alison opens 12 August 2016 in South African cinemas.

Still not seen Alison? See how well it’s doing with awards and nominations. And for SAMDB family, get 15% off in the Alison shop.