Silverton Siege parents guide

Silverton Siege Parent Guide

In its attempts to increase the drama of this real life event, the script makes the film feel formulaic.

Overall C

Netflix: Having failed on their original mission, three anti-apartheid activists wind up holding bank employees hostage. This is based on a true event in South African history.

Release date April 27, 2022

Violence C-
Sexual Content A
Profanity D
Substance Use B

Why is Silverton Siege rated TV-MA? The MPAA rated Silverton Siege TV-MA for language, violence, smoking

Run Time: 100 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Calvin (Thabo Rametsi), Terra (Noxolo Dlamini), and Aldo (Stefan Erasmus) are all members of the uMkhonto we Sizwe, a militant branch of the African National Congress (ANC) which is dedicated to ending apartheid in South Africa. The three men have been assigned to sabotage a government oil refinery while avoiding civilian casualties. When the men reach the refinery, they soon realize they’ve been set up and are chased by armed police all the way back to Pretoria. Once there, the unfortunate trio hole up in the first building they find - a bank. With dozens of hostages inside who they are unwilling to kill, and a small army of heavily armed police officers outside, the freedom fighters are going to have to think quickly if they’re going to have any hope of getting out of the bank alive…without killing anyone.

This is certainly an interesting historical event to focus on for a film, and one so unknown outside of South Africa that it doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page. Thankfully, director Mandla Dube publicly admitted that the film is only about 60% accurate, with the rest being “artistic license”. The problem is that it’s fairly apparent that the film has been “livened up” for dramatic purposes, and it hurts the actual historical significance of a long and bloody fight for freedom against white minority rule. Every time the script concocts some fun dramatic twist, it abandons a difficult fact in favor of a cinematic fiction and weakens the entire story.

A simpler problem is that the film is not particularly compelling. Thabo Rametsi delivers a performance far better than the screenplay deserves, punching above the cliché-ridden dialogue and over-the-top plot morals to create a sympathetic and complex character. However hard he works, though, the film needs more than one committed performance to counterbalance its flaws.

Parents who are undeterred by the lack of historical accuracy and poor writing will likely be unimpressed by the violence and profanity. Although there are considerably less of both than you might expect in your average hostage flick, there are still more than you’d be entirely happy exposing to a young audience. To me, Silverton Siege feels like a missed opportunity to tell a true story. It fell victim to a desire for high drama and action – a desire which only succeeded in making a film so by-the-numbers that I nearly fell asleep.

Directed by Mandla Dube. Starring Thabo Rametsi, Arnold Vosloo, Noxolo Dlamini, Stefan Erasmus, Elani Dekker, Shane Wellington. Running time: 100 minutes. Theatrical release April 27, 2022. Updated

Watch the trailer for Silverton Siege

Silverton Siege
Rating & Content Info

Why is Silverton Siege rated TV-MA? Silverton Siege is rated TV-MA by the MPAA for language, violence, smoking

Violence: People are repeatedly shot, including unarmed civilians. Several characters are struck with guns. A man is fatally stabbed.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: There are three uses of sexual expletives and eight scatological curses, along with infrequent mild curses and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are seen smoking tobacco.

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Silverton Siege Parents' Guide

How do the events of the film differ from the real-life events? Why do you think the filmmakers made those changes? Do you think they strengthen or weaken the film? The protagonists are all members of the uMkhonto we Sizwe, or MK. What was the MK? What was its relationship to the African National Congress? How did they fight against apartheid rule in South Africa? What were some consequences of those operations?

South African History Online: Silverton Siege

Netflix: Six Things to Know Before Watching “Silverton Siege”

Wikipedia: uMkhonto we Sizwe Apartheid

Wikipedia: Apartheid


Home Video

Related home video titles:

Other films about apartheid in South Africa include Cry Freedom, Invictus, Escape from Pretoria, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, In My Country, and Cry, the Beloved Country. This film shares some structural similarities with Stockholm. Other films shot in South Africa include District 9, Zulu, and the unbelievably terrible Chappie, which I wouldn’t watch with a gun to my head.