Question: What happens when a newborn baby ends up in the care of a lawless, gun-toting gangster?

Answer: Depends on the gangster.

Tsotsi, an R-rated film about gangsters in Johannesburg, probably isn't the kind of thing you'd usually put on your must-see list. But Christian film critics want discerning viewers to take a look, finding the film highly deserving of its Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. It may well become one of your favorite films of 2006.

You'll need a strong stomach; these hoodlums are reckless, foul-mouthed, and willing to shed blood in their quest to rule these dangerous streets. But Gavin Hood's big screen adaptation of Athol Fugard's novel is primarily a story of redemption, the kind that stirs compassion in viewers' hearts, reminding us that sometimes God can reach even the most prodigal of his children.

Hood's film follows a young gang leader through six days of crime, fear, and moral struggle. Stealing a woman's car without checking the back seat, Tsotsi (the name is slang for "gangster") ends up with far more than he'd planned—namely, the woman's infant son. Tsotsi debates whether to dump the child or to return him to his parents. But the cops are on his trail, combing the vast, chaotic Johannesburg townships for clues, and he's forced to hide the baby in his apartment, keeping the screaming, hungry, frightened baby concealed from his partners in crime.

Make no mistake—this is no childcare caper a la Raising Arizona or Three Men and a Baby. This is a hard-hitting story about the tug-of-war between one young man's sinful nature and the still, small voice of conscience that whispers in his ear.

Some may view its story of a baby melting a murderous heart to be sentimental or formulaic—and ...

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