Devil's Lair, The
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Torontoist

Devil’s Lair, The

A gangbanger father threatens to saddle his kids with some serious sins.

DIRECTED BY RIAAN HENDRICKS (South Africa, World Showcase)
stars 3andahalf9


SCREENINGS:

Wednesday, May 1, 6:30 p.m.
TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)

Wednesday, May 2, 3:30 p.m.
TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)


A scene late in The Devil’s Lair finds Braaim, the film’s subject, bundled up in bed with his wife Gadija and a bouncing baby girl, the youngest of the couple’s three children. In a moment that might otherwise convey innocent curiosity, the tot claws eagerly at a pair of novelty devil’s horns perched atop her father’s head. As a result of the harrowing events that have preceded it, however, her gesture assumes an unhappy symbolic significance.

Along with his duties as a dad, Braaim busies himself running guns, selling meth, and spearheading a murderous turf war as leader of Cape Town’s notorious Nice Time Kids. Though Gadija bemoans her husband’s perilous lifestyle and lengthy periods of incarceration, we witness Braaim conduct much of his sordid business within the family home and, particularly disconcertingly, often in plain view of his kids.

“Things I do today are things I saw growing up,” he confesses, suggesting a cycle of vice and violence that seems likely to continue unabated. By this point, Braaim’s callous disregard for human life has been well documented, and when he says of his son, “I don’t want Rahiem to grow up like a gangster,” it’s tough to take him at his word. Indeed, by opening with a haunting image of Rahiem crowned by that same horned headband, The Devil’s Lair seems to suggest the damage has already been done.


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