Zulu (2013 film)

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Zulu poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Jérôme Salle
Produced by Richard Grandpierre
Written by Caryl Ferey
Julien Rappeneau
Jérôme Salle
Starring Orlando Bloom
Forest Whitaker
Music by Alexandre Desplat
Cinematography Denis Rouden
Edited by Stan Collet
Distributed by Pathé
Release date
  • 26 May 2013 (2013-05-26) (Cannes)
  • 6 November 2013 (2013-11-06) (France)
Running time
110 minutes
Country France
Language English
Budget $16 million[1]
Box office $2.6 million[2]

Zulu is a 2013 English-language French produced crime film directed by Jérôme Salle. It was selected as the closing film at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.[3][4]

The film is partly based on Project Coast, the program for biological and chemical weapons of the South African apartheid regime, and the book Zulu by author Caryl Férey, winner of the French Grand Prix for Best Crime Novel of 2008.


Police detectives Ali Sokhela (Forest Whitaker) and Brian Epkeen (Orlando Bloom) investigate a murder which apparently took place because the killer took a dangerous new drug.

A young boy is peeking through the windows of a house. The boy's father is outside being tortured by a group of people who set him on fire by necklacing. One of the men torturing his father sees him and the boy runs away.

Flash forward to 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa. The boy, Ali Sokhela, is the chief of the police homicide branch. He still has various psychological problems, including memories from his childhood, including the torture death of his father, which was triggered when he was using his treadmill.

Sokhela is heading towards a crime scene in the Botanical Gardens. He calls Detective Dan Fletcher who is driving his children to school. Sokhela asks Fletcher for a man named 'Brian,' Fletcher replies that he does not know where he is and that he has not arrived. Regardless of this, Sokhela and Fletcher are still able to reach the botanical gardens and into the crime scene. He finds the dead corpse of a young white girl who is believed to have been bashed to death. She is unidentified, but an investigator finds a video club card in the name of Judith Botha.

Meanwhile, Epkeen is found back at his home. He is hungover and in bed with a woman when he hears a strange sound down in his kitchen. Nude, he goes down into the kitchen with his gun and scares the intruder, who turns out to be David, his estranged son looking for money. Epkeen had a divorce with his mother Ruby, who now lives a rich life with a dentist, Rick. After arguing about child support, Brian's womanising and his father's blank tombstone, Brian lets his son leave.

A lead sends them to Muizenberg. While walking the beach and showing the photo of the deceased to beachgoers and fishermen, Sokhela and Fletcher stumble upon a gang by a set of colorful beach shacks at Surfer's Corner. Meanwhile, Epkeen goes further up the sand dune to investigate another group of Coloured teens playing loud music and drinking. A Coloured girl starts dancing and grinding on Epkeen. She makes a quick move, takes his holstered pistol, and fires a shot at him. Unbeknownst to her, Epkeen instinctively keeps it unloaded, with a loaded magazine hidden in his pants pocket. Epkeen manages to get his weapon away from her and load it. The group flee for cover and make an escape. All the while, Sokhela and Fletcher are questioning the gang by the beach shacks. When Sokhela goes into one of the shacks and discovers a cache of weapons, he instinctively draws his weapon. However, the gang now have Fletcher at gunpoint. The gang makes Sokhela drop his weapon. A gang member then impales Sokhela through his left ear and leaves him pinned to the side of the beach shack. Another gang member takes out a machete and cuts off Fletcher's left hand at the wrist.

Sokhela and Epkeen eventually discover that a biological weapon was being researched in secret before being released onto the streets as a new form of recreational drug, and move to confront those responsible.


  • Orlando Bloom as Brian Epkeen
  • Forest Whitaker as Ali Sokhela
  • Tanya van Graan as Tara
  • Natasha Loring as Marjorie
  • Sven Ruygrok as David Epkeen
  • Adrian Galley as Nils Botha
  • Conrad Kemp as Dan Fletcher
  • Roxanne Prentice as Judith Botha
  • Tinarie Van Wyk-Loots as Claire Fletcher
  • Dean Slater as Rick
  • Kelsey Egan as Nicole Weiss
  • Khulu Skenjana as Themba


The film premiered at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival on 26 May as the closing night film.[5] It later opened in France on 4 December 2013. In South Africa, the film was renamed as City of Violence.[6]

Following the premiere at Cannes, the film was picked up for U.S. distribution by the Weinstein Co.[7] However, as of 2017, the film does not have a U.S. release date. Director Jérôme Salle announced that Harvey Weinstein has yet to release it because he probably thought it was "too SA for US audiences."[8]

The film has been released on Netflix as Cape Town Cops.


  1. ^ "Zulu (2013)". The Numbers. Retrieved 16 January 2016. 
  2. ^ "Zulu (2013)". Retrieved 16 January 2016. 
  3. ^ "'Zulu' to Close Cannes Film Festival". Variety. Reed Business Information. 12 April 2013. Retrieved 12 April 2013. 
  4. ^ "Orlando Bloom thriller to close Cannes film festival". BBC News. BBC. 12 April 2013. Retrieved 12 April 2013. 
  5. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (12 April 2013). "'Zulu' to Close Cannes Film Festival". Retrieved 25 May 2017. 
  6. ^ Obenson, Tambay A. "Forest Whitaker, Orlando Bloom Crime Drama 'Zulu' Gets a New Release Trailer, Poster + Title Change - IndieWire". www.indiewire.com. Retrieved 25 May 2017. 
  7. ^ Barraclough, Leo (24 May 2013). "Pathe Closes Further Sales for Cannes Slate". Retrieved 25 May 2017. 
  8. ^ "Jérôme Salle on Twitter". Retrieved 25 May 2017. 

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