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The Independent Critic

Litlhoholofatso Litlhakayane, Ava Skuratowski, Andrea Sawatzki
Mara Eibl-Eibesfeldt
Mara Eibl-Eibesfeldt, Ursula Gruber, Martin Gypkens
Rated PG
97 Mins.
Purdie Distribution

 Movie Review: Thabo and the Rhino Case 
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If you're going to make an intelligent family film, you can certainly do worse than shooting your film in South Africa and Bavaria, Germany. Such is the case with the fascinating Thabo and the Rhino Case, a pleasing indie project scheduled for release on May 3, 2024 by indie distributor Purdie Distribution. 

Thabo and the Rhino Case tells the story of eleven-year-old Thabo (Litlhoholofatso Litlhakayane), a wannabe private detective who barely gets the chance living within the area of a beautiful and very safe safari park. However, things change when a rhino is murdered and its precious horn stolen and Thabo's uncle Vusi (Nhlakanipho Manqele) comes under suspicion for the crime. Joining with his new friend Emma (Ava Skuratowski) from Germany, Thabo sets out to not only take care of an abandoned baby rhino but also is determined to capture the real perpetrators of the crime. 

A partnership with The Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Thabo and the Rhino Case is an intelligent, engaging motion picture that promises to be a winning adventure for the entire family. The film offers a gentle yet realistic portrayal of South African life and the very real issue of poaching that impacts quite a few African nations. The scene involving the discovery of the rhino is surprisingly intense though not graphically so. Award-winning director Mara Eibl-Eibesfeldt nicely captures the stark reality without allowing the scene to become overly traumatic for the film's target younger audience. However, parents would do well to take note of the scene's presence for those children particularly sensitive to such scenes involving animals. 

Thabo and the Rhino Case is adapted from a German children's novel by Kirsten Boie, however, much of the film is in English. The film's ensemble cast is entirely appealing, especially its younger members, and Thabo and Emma share a delightful, believable chemistry. 

This is a PG-rated film with a decent amount of adventure and some universal themes to enjoy. There's lots for parents to discuss here and the film is beautifully shot by Britta Mangold with an enjoyable original score by Oliver Thiede. Academy Award-winner Peter Hermann is here as producer for the film. 

Thabo and the Rhino Case is the latest project from faith-based and family indie distributor Purdie Distribution, distributor of such familiar films to me as Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed, The Work and the Glory Trilogy, Once I Was a Beehive and others. This is yet another winner and here's hoping it finds the audience it deserves. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic