Tsotsi is a film based off of Athol Fugard's work by the same name. The film explores how a street gangster/ thug ends up becoming a better person once he recognizes the reaching implications of his actions. A runaway youth, Tsotsi lives the life of the criminal. When a carjacking includes an unexpected element of a baby in the back seat, Tsotsi has to account for someone else in his actions. While he is a killer, he cannot kill an infant. From this point, a change in him happens. His transformation begins with the perceived thug becoming a humanized and a more empathetic figure.
The film's trajectory rests in this exploration. Tsotsi seeks to become more of a supportive figure to the people around him. He ends up giving the baby back to the parents and suffers for the action. Like the Fugard work, the film seeks to bring complexity and intricacy to individuals that are normally cast aside and dismissed as threats to society or individuals that require the most punitive of punishments. Tsotsi proves to be redeemable because he is forced to see his actions in a larger scope. The film explores this element of his being.