Tuesday, January 30, 2007

"Junebug" (2005) - Movie Review

The knowledge factory with respect to the custom, traditions and technology of human being are constantly evolving and taking different forms regardless of the region or cultural factor. Many of those factors contradict and go opposite to the beliefs everyone had forty to fifty years ago. Every twenty years there lies the current generation ready to begin their life with respect to the matrimony who are “supposedly” novel and pragmatic, then there is the previous generation who have all their experience to share and come to judgment rather than facts and then there are the young ones who are just crawling their way to get confused in between these two cultural and traditional antonyms of values and perceptions. “Junebug”, directed by Phil Morrison gives the cross section of those in an undertone form of film making.

Madeline (Embeth Davidtz) and George Johnsten (Alessandro Nivola) are newlyweds who visit George's family in the country side of North Carolina. Even though the main purpose of Madeline’s visit is to get the rare painter David Wark (Frank Hoyt Taylor) to her outside gallery in Chicago, she sees this opportunity to know the Johnsten family. They meet the two couples who are George’s parents Eugene (Scott Wison) and Peg (Celia Weston) and George’s younger brother Johnny (Benjamin Mckenzie) with his pregnant wife Ashley (Amy Adams). Put together these culturally and traditionally opposite couples to view kaleidoscope of strained and complex relationship of this era.

Peg is the typical mother who thinks no one can replace her place with respect to showing love to her son. The mellowed and pricking off hand diplomatic remarks here and there to nudge her daughter in law brings out the everyday incident of any family in any country. She tightens herself into this invisible medium of fake personality of being strong and rigid. Complimenting her is the terse and calm Eugene who solaces himself in his wood work. The viewers associate themselves into those particular roles but take a step backward when it seems negative. This is when everyone for one knows the actions of the people are wrong and do not want to associate to those characters, but the fact is denying the truth. The movie makes it to realize and understand the mistakes of the current human value system. The instance of Madeline opting business over human quotient depicts the materialistic life of city, while Johnny, the young immature kid who finds it hard to place himself in front of his financially successful brother giving the unawareness of the village life. And Peg being judgmental and sedated into the conservative universe of her own giving the era soaked in ego forming blocks to listen and learn. With all these strange characters comes their better half that works out the relationship and maintains the equilibrium of humanism.

Amy Adams fills the screen as Ashley with her charm, naïve, and innocent, cute talking making the viewers fall in love with this country girl immediately who got nominated for the 2006 Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role. Emberth Davidtz as the cosmopolitan wife makes a nice image of hospitable yet distant in a family. Scott Wilson and Celia Weston bring out the marriage of social obligation by Peg and Eugene realistically. Alessandro and Benjamin provide the poles apart characteristics of understanding and matured George with a confused and frustrated Johnny, respectively.

Cinematography provides the right balance in between independent movie outlook with down the skin realistic images of North Carolina country sides. The shots of showing the images of interiors of Johnsten’s house as soon as the city couple have their initial entry is novel in approach, because the viewers get to know the different rooms and its limitations acoustically and visually to get the right feel of it.

“Junebug” is not an attempt to give the slice of how different the various generation is but it is the summation of those and how there is one member in a relationship working very hard while a mere nod of other makes it blooming and intriguing. The movie handles the viewers’ prediction of who will confide to whom in a surprising manner. At the end of everything, Johnny is ready to give the relationship another shot, Madeline is ready to accept her mistakes and move on while the old couple is where there is no completion. This is not an unintentional open end but basically giving the generation tied up in the past traditions. They decide to finish their life as it is since they feel it is too late to change. The director even though provides the reality, if there would have been a mark of effort from the old couple to work out the gap in between them and the others, it would have been more fulfilling. Yet, that is my personal ending which may not go well with the original and true picture of “Junebug”.

Monday, January 29, 2007

"Network" (1976) - Movie Classics

Corporate world battles are one of the rarest areas the talents of the movie industry opt to shoot out. This is due to the main reason that the internal small details are so necessary to build up the whole story in a short period of time. Moreover, it may be inadequate to perpetuate into the audience with such an environment totally alien to them and in fact, they do not want to know about it. “Network” is the 1976 film directed by Sidney Lumet, is about a fictional television network named UBS which has the key players trying hard to fight out the ratings and get into the top of the game as any other corporate will try to do in any other business.

Howard Beale (Peter Finch) is losing his Midas touch in the TV news industry and is at the edge of his career with two weeks away from his departure from UBS. His friend and boss, Max Schumacher (William Holden) out of getting back with the higher representative Frank Hackett (Robert Duvall) for diminishing the news division allows the outrage of Howard Beale’s anger and frustration due to his firing in live television. Due to this act, Frank is ready to fire Howard Beale immediately when a charismatic, vivid and emotionally negligent and talented Diana Christensen (Faye Dunaway) uses the opportunity for publicizing the emotional rage of American people through Howard. She succeeds in her sale and thus the show of Howard Beale continues taking on some of the most horrific truths inside the entertainment industry of Television and the cut throat business of the show business.

This is a film which employs the strongest usage of language, the audience will ever witness in the history of film making. Even though one cannot believe in the implication of the language use of such vocabulary happening in any industry apart from literature, it adds the perfect ingredient to the movie which is driven by dialogues. The speech of Howard Beale is totally phenomenal. The sequences of the Howard Beagle’s speech are exemplary in the use of strong dialogues which gives the gruesome and violent exposure of truths in the most blatant and entertaining manner. Another interesting use of technique in story telling is that the majority of the movie happens in a closed room not alone to give the inside dungeons of the Studio but to confine the limitations of the viewer’s mind, as the film tries to say what the improper use of television does to the “humanoids”. The screenplay serves as the guide book reference for a movie heavily engulfed by thundering dialogues. “Network” won the 1976 Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for Paddy Chayefsky and what more to say about it? The colour tone of the screen is the polished teak wood look to give the corporate ambience inside the viewer’s living room or theatre.

The performances make this movie of what it is. It is a movie about show business and every one needs to emote their candid character in the most believable and interesting way. All of them do it with finesse tune of acting skills. Take it the emotionally stressed and rejuvenated spiritually, Howard Beale played by Peter Finch or the honest and conscience minded Max Schumacher portrayed by William Holden or the emotionless, competitive maniac Diana Christensen by Faye Dunaway or the typical ruthless and chameleonic soft and hard spoken Frank Hackett done by Robert Duvall, they shine brilliantly and prove their presence. Special mention goes to the supporting actor Ned Beaty as Arthur Jensen and Beatrice Straight as Max’s wife who make their mark in the less than six minutes screen appearances.

There are enormous amount of heavy content spread across this film. Some may find it very harsh and insane. Some may find it amusing and jovial. Some may find it extremely truthful yet implausible to happen in this world. Out of everything, one truth emerge unaninamously and that is, the “Network” does show the generation blinded by the improper use of television. The most astounding fact is the supposedly “informative news channel” is taken as the example and delivered as a soap opera. This is a classic representation of how the presumably intellectualized material can be put into shambles by the most inappropriate people’s medium of mind. The intensity of the moment is so sharp in the dialogues and it is evident when Howard Beale in one his influencing speech says, “I am a human being, Goddammit! My life has value!” the viewers feel so much frustration and the veracity of the human kind raises out of it vehemently. Many may think, Howard as the psychotically broke down, edge of his life loser who shelters himself from the cruelty of the world through philosophy, while it may be the truth, the truth that he is telling the fact is undeniable. Underestimating the power of that truth and its consequences has been beautifully given before the near end of the movie when Howard takes on the Network in the most painful way along with him.

“Network” is a movie classic whose content holds strong and is speaking loud even in the current era of pre-programmed “humanoids”. As the movie progresses, the viewers will find the whole misuse of media, sickening and depressing wherein they will reach a point and yell, “I am as Mad as Hell and I am not going to take this anymore” reinstating what Howard says.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

"The Battle of Algiers" (Language - French/Arabic) (1966) - Movie Classics

When it comes to presenting the struggles went through by a nation for their Freedom against the colonizing country, there will be a tendency felt by the audience that the demarcation between the good and the bad. The Freedom seekers as good while the one denying and trying to imply the order and do the job the government assigns as bad. Giving out an unbiased and neutral report without the tendency of taking sides on the events which led to the freedom of Algeria is monumental work and “The Battle of Algiers” directed by Gillo Pontecorvo does that and instigate the viewers to have their thought on it.

The movie starts off with the paratroopers of French government obtaining information from an Algerian by interrogation to know the whereabouts of an important member of the rebel organization. The paratroopers seize a building and there they give a final warning sign to the hiding members of the rebel organization to surrender. From there, the movie shifts off to the past wherein they give the birth and growth of the FLN (National Liberation Front) which has led to the seizure of the building with the members in it. The story does not concentrate on speaking out the events through a character, but it takes the mode of single person shoot and documentary style to exactly provide the feel of both the parts of a city encountering violence in the most brutal way. The doubt of walking out of home and coming back alive becomes a question in both the part of the towns. The motion picture slowly builds up the momentum as the rebel group does. When there is sufficient ammunition with solid foundation to the story as that of the freedom revolt, the members of the audience witness the blood shed by the innocent lives on both sides to achieve the freedom at any cost.

The style of the movie making is magnificent in every term. Even though the movie is made in black and white in 1966, the clarity and quality of the images is picture perfect. It seems so far ahead of time wherein the current technically advanced movie industry there is a failure in bringing out the same clarity. The editing is slick and realistic. The utilization of the documentary, narration and cinematic sequences is employed in the improvisation of the story forms the niche of the movie as far as technical department. As per the performances of the actors/actresses go, Jean Martin as Colonel Mathieu stands out clearly and he made the character so easy. His convincing and realistic depiction of the current scenario of what really the battle is impressive. Brahim Hadjadj as Ali La Pointe as the tough and angry young man is brilliant as well. A special mention goes here for the dialogues tearing out from the native language in to the international language kindles the questions in viewers’ point of perception towards violence.

The focal point of the movie is the conversation which happens in between one of peer leaders of FLN and Ali La Pointe during the one week of unarmed strike of the Algerians. The discussion of the violence and how it benefits and destroys for the war of independence and the act of individuals bringing favourable results than a small set of rebels is pinching the realism during their conversation. The second punch line in the movie is the press conference with Colonel Mathieu where in he brutalizes the press with the truth.

Violence has never benefited anyone in long terms. As Colonel Mathieu says it as “vicious circle”, it goes hard and comes back even more brutal, excruciating the situation. Blood shed due to the acts of violence is one of the hurtful and never ending process which results only in more blood than the ultimate destiny of peace. A peace can never be attained by the act of violence and brutality. The peace and freedom what the Algerians try to accomplish through attacking and the same act of violence by the French to maintain their colony and attain normalcy in the society.

The movie puts the viewer as a spectator and never allowing them to mingle either with the Algerians or the French. The purpose of it is to think of what can be got out of it rather than pointing fingers. There is no doubt that the battle sparked the hunger of freedom in every individual but it also did spark the explosion timer of hatred in each other’s mind. Disabling the bomb of hatred can only be achieved through the act of forgiveness than violence. The history has always witnessed that violence has created only hatred and never have achieved the real concept of peace. The movie just does not unravels the time capsule of those truth in which the audience witness the agitation, hatred and the blood shed during the battle of Algiers but the realization of the people of Algeria, the concept of freedom. The freedom, which made them fight again as a country after losing the battle and resurrect to attain it.

“The Battle of Algiers” is more than a movie. It is the history and current scenario wherein how a human being needs to fight among them to get something which always is within them. The resultants of the movie are the undeniable fact of violence causing hatred but also the uselessness of acts of regret rather than solution. The creators of this movie want the audience to think and take a moment before any action of aggression because they have witnessed the consequences of it in, “The Battle of Algiers”.

Friday, January 26, 2007

"The Illusionist" (2006) - Movie Review

Periodic motion pictures are always a treat to watch, since it provides the opportunity of exploring the artsy buildings, glooming streets and those interestingly dressed people which are alien to the present settings of fast food streets and hazy ambience. Bringing something that classy with a solid framework of chained interesting events is what; “The Illusionist” does, directed by Neil Burger.

Edward Norton is one of the very few actors in the current period of time whose selection of movies and the character he opts are challenging and diverse. Here he mesmerizes the audience as the great illusionist, Eisenheim. The movie runs out as what the Inspector Uhl played Paul Giamatti investigated and observed on Eisenheim and his childhood love, Sophie (Jessica Biel) who is been engaged to the Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell). I guess this setting is good enough for a normal beaten to death love stories. Not alone that and adding to it, is the use of a narration to have a better description of the mystified moments and shedding light on the deep and dark minds of characters has been done in umpteen films but the director chose specifically this style for an essential reason. In the sense, the director puts the viewers into the shoes of Inspector Uhl. The members of the audience question the authenticity and yet appreciate Eisenheim for the unimaginable and touching the doors of the “alternate” world illusions in real time stage as Uhl does. Eisenheim performs for the audience but challenges Inspector Uhl and Crown Prince and quite a way, the viewers of the movie too in the process of entertaining them. Bringing those senses is the perfect achievement for a multi genre film.

The artwork and the cinematography are attributed impeccably by the back ground score and editing. After getting thrilled and amazed by the use of colour tones in “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events”, the movie “The Illusionist” impresses at the same degree of imagination and application of chroma in an elegant manner. The use of blurriness around the edges of the screen during the initial child hood sequences to bring the effect of viewing through a film box or bioscope is the perfect example of the intricacy and in depth details the cinematography went.

Edward Norton is a personal favourite of mine in the current era of talented actors in the industry. His characterization of Eisenheim is nothing short of brilliance. When he can come as the innocent kid in “Primal Fear” and rough young man in “American History – X”, performing a tight lipped, calm and composed skills man of tricks should have been a cake walk. Yet, he took care to portray the exact details involved for the character. The second in the line of carrying the movie forward is Paul Giamatti. His depiction of Inspector Uhl as the personality who adores the illusions of Eisenheim and the loyalty towards Price Leopold and his battle of success over conscience is top notch. Jessica Biel and Rufus Sewell provide the essential support for these two characters underplaying themselves and still noticeable.

At the end of the film, the viewers may take home their own hero of the story. The sweet wickedness of the “The Illusionist” is politically incorrect but sometimes the people believe what they want to believe in certain personalities deserving better and worse for their actions with respect to their own conscience. This is the pinnacle of illusion, this “Illusionist’ generates. One of the most entertaining and enjoyable movies of 2006 without any question.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

"The Constant Gardener" (2005) - Movie Review

Bringing together a controversial reality along with the entertainment factor is the cornerstone of a successful story. The arduous task is to deliver those concepts in such a way that it does not get lost in the “entertainment factor” by the director trying to quench the taste of “Friday Night” audiences. “The Constant Gardener” touches the line of the previous statement and tries to deliver how the benefits for the most parts of the world have been denied consistently for some other countries. The acclaimed and praised director of “City of God” Fernando Meirelles debuted through “The Constant Gardener” in the international arena.

Justin Quale (Ralph Fiennes), a British Diplomat investigates his activist wife Tessa’s (Rachel Weisz) brutal murder in Northern Kenya. The investigation uncovers some bitter truths in his lost love and that of bigger governments tying hands with corporate moguls to use a helpless country as a testing ground for their drug for sole business intentions. The story greatly deplores the hunt for truth by Justin and the haunting realities of a nation so deserted and chaotic.

The scenes involving the blossoming love in between Justin and Tessa are subtle and give those intense intimacies a naïve and luscious colour and also slowly stitching those in audience’s memories. Those leading sequences fires up the momentum and provides the fuel necessary to trigger an emotional and entertaining mystery. The movie rattles and falters in the mid of the movie losing those geared up solid jumpstart scenes. The pain of a loved one being lost could have been showed in more appropriate moment rather than during a tense investigation. The application of using those was not executed perfectly. One of the main reason for stumbling story was due to the unraveling the suspense in the midst of the motion picture. The leadings were so predictable that except the protagonist everyone just gives up the whole key players and Tuxedo Bandits behind the act. There is no denial that the story is haunting and horrifying but the concentration went off the highway once all the clues are no more clues rather than a bunch of explanatory answers.

Ralph Fiennes impresses as a husband who is torn by his loss but unable to balance the will and character of a “Jason Bourne” and the diplomatic softness of Justin in same split screen. Rachel Weisz completely mesmerizes as the open, daunting, caring and emotionally explicit Tessa. Her screen presence is totally overwhelming. The interesting part of the movie which is the initial one hour belongs to her and she justifies it with the viewers falling in love with the character as Justin does in a short span of time. The supporting role does not come as supportive as it should have been from the other performers sadly due to the lack of substance in the reasoning factor of the story.

The desolated and withered countries of Africa are shown with vibrant and saddening colours. The editing followed notebook rules of ingenuity all over the motion picture. There is some couple of touching dialogues but it gets lost by the blurriness of the screenplay in the latter half of the movie.

“The Constant Gardener” is still a watchable movie which may not hit the audience as it had been aimed but the team work involved in the initial sequences makes the viewer expect for more of those. Unfortunately, the team work got dismantled miserably in the latter stages of the movie to cripple the gardener. The unnecessary use of “gardener” in the previous line is how the movie uses it for the protagonist who does represent neither his display of a peculiar characteristics for the movie nor the core concept of the story as “The Constant Gardener”. Or maybe I did not get it.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

"The Squid and the Whale" (2005) - Movie Review

Sam Mendes in “American Beauty” beautifully delivered the weird and strange expectations of a couple which leads to the demise of their marriage. Also he depicted how it affects the children in bizarre behavioral way. Sam Mendes used the environmental pressure and the materialistic obsession in his movie to show the disturbance in the family. Noah Baumbach took out his personal childhood experience and screens it in “The Squid and the Whale”. The monumental task for these critical and fragile juveniles is painful to love the two people who hate each other. This concentrated collection of a separated family has been dealt in “The Squid and the Whale” with some stellar performances and powerful screenplay.

The movie is set in the residential houses of Brooklyn in the year 1986. Bernard (Jeff Daniels) and Joan (Laura Linney) are two professional writers with two sons Walt (Jesse Eisenberg) and Frank (Owen Kline). With Joan being successful with her writing skills coming up recently and Bernard’s hunting for his break and many other differences lead to their separation. Rest is the complexities and the bitter truths which wrestle the minds of their children and themselves forming this short yet profound movie.

The director never tries to put the viewers into the situation of the key role players rather makes them the neighbour and spectators. Within initial five minutes sequences, the members of the audience can identify who is who and whom they like and why they like. The screenplay is so striking that the process of elaborate essay of a character is minimized in couple of minutes. Jeff Daniels as Bernard swipes the table of performances so perfectly. Laura Linney as an understanding mother and a woman who is longing to have personal wishes is as good as well. Jesse Eisenberg comes as the second star of the movie as Walt while Owen Kline as Frank competes for it too. William Baldwin and Anna Paquin provide the supporting cast as and when needed.

The sequence of the couple announcing their separation to their kids is brilliant. They plan everything materialistically, even their children. It is not a pleasant sight to witness a couple depart especially when they scratch their head on what to do with their cat. It is scary to see when two people who lived together for a substantial duration of time, fighting fingers to the bone to get the most benefit and cause the most harm to the opposite party. There are no hard scenes of screaming to establish that fact but the screenplay plays it immaculately. Its one day playing family tennis and next day it’s a topsy turvy land of whose “night” and “day” to be with them and the viewer sympathize with the children. The movie also generates the confused state of mind of Walt wherein he is being controlled and coming up as a replica of his dad. Frank opposed to his elder brother, believes in what he likes than what is best. He challenges his own dad and finds guilty pleasure of winning over him. Bernard is a mix of the entire irritating and supposedly “intellectual” father no one wants to be around. As in contrast, Joan is caring and honest in her thoughts and with her sons.

The ending is so artistic and symbolic of the comparison of the Squid and whale to the sexes. “The Squid and the Whale” is a definite watch for independent genre movie goers and a very nice start to rest of the genre audiences to enter the world of independent movie making.

(Thanks to Mathi for Proof Reading and Corrections)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

"Children of Men" (2006) - Movie Review

Handling a futuristic world opens the doors for wide range of imagination since the responsibility of reasoning out some of the bizarre logics with respect to flying saucers and paper thin screens can be lessened, while at the same time, it elevates the responsibility of explaining the reasons for a society with lot of social chaos or niceties. “Children of Men”, directed by Alfonso Cuarón, may not address the later that in depth but just grazes over it, while having the strongest emotional imagination of land with infertile women and no possibility of further human kind.

Theo (Clive Owen), an alcoholic working for the government gets a strange offer from his ex-wife, Julian (Julianne Moore) who is the leader of a group, claiming that the group fights against the torments by government against the immigrants. The mission is to transfer a product of a strange miracle, a pregnant girl to supposedly “The Human Project”, run by a group of scientists investing in finding out the reasons for infertility and saving the human kind. The journey from the city to the destiny is “Children of Men”.

Clive Owen is an impressive actor and a role of Theo, he can do it sleepwalking and that’s exactly what he does. His acting skill comes out specifically when all of his dear ones are hurt one by one. The other casts do their job well but nothing excelling of particular person since Clive Owen takes most of the screen.

The society Alfonso Cuarón shows is filled with chaos but a very possible reality. There are certain routines, conditions, processes that the humans take it for granted. The story basically eliminates one of the main processes and then lets the viewers decide on it. I was not impressed by the movie “Brazil” which falls under the same genre, basically due to the reason that putting oneself in a totally random and imaginative society like that seemed impossible. Unlike “Brazil”, this movie facilitates the viewer easily to put themselves in to this chaotic society, still imaginative enough and tangentially possible realism. The complex scrambling of words in my previous sentence is what this movie generates. On an honest note, the movie did not strike as extraordinary as the critics suggested, but playing back the movie in my head, the feeling of no more children for next 20 years and one fine day there is a hope for it, brings some kind of strange enigma. The emotion will be unexplainable, yet striking and hence that is certainly a credit to the story and its creator, P.D. James who wrote this novel in 1992.

Camerawork by Emmanuel Lubezki is the work of excellence, especially in the final 20 minutes. A company named Doggicam Systems' Power Slide system invented special attachable equipment to the camera for this movie and it has proved its worth through this motion picture. Even though at couple of places, it seems like a video game, it directly places the viewer in the spot giving a breathtaking view of the environment. Artwork crew has done its job to perfection and special mention to the undisturbed free flowing screenplay as well.

Having mentioned all that, the movie still is missing the main ingredient of impacting the viewer at their hearts. In the past umpteen years of movies, the viewers have witnessed tons of escorting a person in extreme situations and hence even though with vivid artistry, the motion picture did not create the “impact” factor. Nevertheless, “Children of Men” is worth the watch for its brilliance of imagination, technical excellence of camera and the performance of Clive Owen.

"The Queen" (2006) - Movie Review

“The Queen” directed by Stephen Frears with Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth – II and Michael Sheen as Tony Blair portrays the series of incidents after Princess Diana died in an accident. The cold strained conversations between the Queen and Tony Blair in person and over the phone and the happenings that surrounds them are given in a straightforward and lucid nature. The emotional turmoil of the people due to the reaction less Royal family on the death of their ex-daughter-in-law was given as such with original footages. The behind the stage incidents was reconstructed by the events disclosed by the close people who witnessed those, inside her majesty’s palace, which form the tug of war between Queen and the Prime Minister of UK.

The establishment of the fact, on how deep the conservativeness and the thoughts of past generation run through them is rightly inculcated into the members of the audience through the initial scenes of the movie. After seeing nearly dozen different personalities in the chair of Prime Minister, the generation wideness with the young and charismatic Tony Blair surprises the Queen. Yet, she maintains the stature of amazing authority and the flair of the Royal family over the trend of changing world. While she is trying to take her time adjusting to the fact that there is a change ahead, the Queen is struck by the tragic accident of Diana which puts her into a situation she never anticipated and have not been before. The inner battle within her poses as remorseless person to the people of England. The impulsive nature of human being to show their anger is sharp and wounding and when it comes from the whole country it is brutal. The world inside the palace is the life a common person unable and sometimes denies seeing past the glittering glasses of walls, which is so fragile and complicated.

The director makes the viewer see what the people of England saw in the initial phases of the story and just when enough emotional anger is been created in them, he puts them right into the royal shoes of the Queen. Slowly and steadily, the viewer is made to realize the toughness, courage, empathy and the sacrifice one has to make to get into the place where she is. The actions and the consequences are viewed in couple of instances through Blair’s wife and his assistants. It is not about the passiveness of the Queen that needs to be put into scrutiny but it is the traditional and upbringings which becomes an impasse for her which needs dissection and cure. The director picks up and hands down the series of questions to the viewer - What he/she would have done with an upbringing like the Queen? Will the belief he/she has been following for her whole life is void by the changes in the world? Is it the tradition that is stopping or is it the ego or is it the vengeance of all those damages caused by Diana’s unintended actions? The answers for all those are fed properly and in a neat fashion. The director’s answer is that to develop the ability to listen to the right things even the truth nullifies the life long beliefs of a person.

My reference of Queen as not a “character” shows us how much Helen Mirren brought out the Queen on to the screen. Helen Mirren delivers one of the most powerful and terrific performances in the film industry in recent times. Michael Sheen as Tony Blair compliments Helen Mirren with all deliverance of eloquence of the Prime Minister of England. Roger Allam as Queen’s right hand Robin Janvrin, James Cromwell as Prince Phillip and Mark Bazeley as Blair’s spokesman Alaistair Campbell give the right reality and momentums the movie requires.

The background score is very subtle and interestingly brings out the comedic nature in the most unexpected instances. A movie’s definitive score is not about the music alone but the use and negation of it as demanded by the scene. This has been done with perfection and definitely need to be appreciated. Screenplay and editing are very definitive and explanatory. The perfect applications of the strong dialogues at the tense moments are tremendous and daring.

“The Queen” discusses the open facts of the reaction of the Royal family and also accepts the fact of change required by the current “modernized” world. The complications and emotional battles of Queen within herself brings out the unimaginable pain and distress one needs to undergo to accept the mistakes and act on the right things. Viewers can apply them to their very own parents and see how it illuminates the ego shadowed society of the old times and the current times as well. The upbringings differ in the world where the current generation cannot comprehend well enough, which makes it tough to deal with what they have in front. Change is inevitable and the way it should be brought is the decision made by both the generations. The openness to discuss it whiles the humility to accept those are the underlying facts of this movie.

The fascinating question the current generation finally needs to ask themselves is, when their turn comes to question their life long beliefs, will they be ready to accept those beyond hesitations, if it is wrong? Will they be willing to discuss it with the then current generation? Will you?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

"Green Street Hooligans" (2005) - Movie Review

Wrongly accused of possessing a drug, an American student Matt Buckner played by Elijah Wood is expelled from Harvard. Fed up to confide with his dad’s answering machine, he heads to London to stay with his sister Shannon played by Claire Forlani who lives with her husband Steve. Steve portrayed by Marc Warren has a brother Pete performed by Charlie Hunnam. Matt hangs out with Pete in his first day in the country and thereby enters the dark parts of London wherein Football or Soccer is considered more than a game.

The movie is marked by an impressive start with the gritty cinematography of the mean streets of London. Like Matt, the viewer learns the religion of soccer and the gangs or “firms” associated with a team. They also learn how far one would take the fight away from the stadium and the bloody violence involved in it. Matt’s friendly face and mannerism along with the palm on his head from the leader of the “firm, Pete, makes an easy path for him to mingle with the Firm easily. Being expelled from the best institution and in a new country with lots of drink and crazy friends gives the young kid the right mixture for confusion, putting him in the exact state of mind to do the wrong things right. This moment has been captured with nice details by the director. From there on, it’s no stopping for Matt and his new buddy Pete to take on the opposite firm of the team “Milwall”.

Having set the right momentum and the pace for the movie, the director did not grab the opportunity till the end. The movie with brisk pace and curiosity which was consistent till the midway of the story falters after it. There seems to be a heavy contemplation in the director’s mind whether to make it an utterly dark piece with moving message or make it spicy entertainer with an underlying final say embedded in it. This contemplation turned against the movie which brings down the pace very slowly and steadily till the end. “Green Street Hooligans” was almost there but did not run that extra mile to hit the audience right in the spot where it would have made an extreme difference and have produced an excellent entertaining movie.

Elijah Wood fits the role of the young American, born with a silver spoon. He also tried to bring the anger and rage necessary for the character. The real show was put on by Charlie Hunnam as Pete bringing the right amount of dark humour and care for the character. Rest of the cast did their job with enjoyable cockney accent necessary enough.

As per the editing is concerned, it is slick but not novel. The soundtracks were fit at the right places and just when I was about to completely admire those, the final episode of movie had a very badly placed song which kind of took all the nice part away from the sequence and also from the song selection department.

There were instances of Matt explaining his feelings on becoming one of the members of the firm but if that could have been extended throughout the movie, it could have added some more real emotions to the character. Definitely one of the few good starts, I have witnessed in recent days for a movie of this genre, but the screenplay was not good enough to keep it going all along the way.

“Green Street Hooligans” kicks the ball right at the target till half time and starts kicking the ball all over the place randomly in the second half to settle for a draw match which could have been won.

(Thanks to Mathi for Proof Reading)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

"I am David" (2003) - Movie Review

“I am David” directed by Paul Feig is an adaptation from the acclaimed novel “North to Freedom” by Anne Holm. The story is about the journey of young boy named David, who escapes from the concentration camp. It elaborates the journey of the young kid towards a destiny he knows but does not know the reason for it. The movie attempts to explain those reasons through the characters he meets.

I would like to say that, the character of David and his journey inspires hope and freedom but unfortunately the movie fell short by many yards and fails to create the flair and substance required for a sentimental and moving piece. All the characters are paper thin and are not profound enough for the viewer to associate with them easily. A story like this needs more time to grow with the ongoing characters the boy encounters along with the viewers. For unknown reasons, the director decided to go on with an hour and a half movie which diminishes the chances of knowing the situation and personalities in depth within those short period of time. Moreover, the movie should have generated a comparison of David in and out of the camp which would have made the viewer feel the change in better dimension.

The saving grace of the movie is three things which are the location, cinematography and back ground score. It would have been quite a challenge for the composer Stewart Copeland with a totally bland movie like this to give the feel it needs. Cinematographer Roman Osin provides a beautiful tour of the fresh and vibrant Italy. There is not much to do with respect to editing since the base screenplay lacks the solid stature of crispy clean plan which makes a movie stand firm.

Ben Tibber as David needs to go a long way when it comes to acting. Neither does his mono emotion face brings the character the void of love he is missing nor does his acting skills compliment those to make viewers empathize with character of David. Jim Caviezel as Johannes, the friend of David in his camp could have been given more screen time so that he would have been able to salvage the movie but they denied it. Since there is not much scope for any other actors/actresses, no one makes that impact.

The movie tries to explore the reasons for David’s emotionless and confused stature. It tries to show the viewer that how it would have been for a young boy out of harsh concentration camp with confined knowledge towards the society and his perception towards the outer world and his reaction. It also tries to show the transformation or an attempt by David to find solace and peace by mingling with the people against the advice given to him as “Trust No One” and his battle to adhere to both of those. It tries and tries and it just did not reach there on opposite to what David does in the movie.

“I am David” could have been a moving and touching film. It could have created the impact of what David Lynch’s “The Straight Story” created or Frank Darabont’s “The Shawshank redemption” excelled but it gives a very ordinary, predictable, fairy tale and cartoonish character creation which never comes up to the par.

“I am David” is like the colourful reddish blossoming soda every kid longs for and with all eager when they drink it, they realize it is tasteless and bland but did not want to admit to others and acts enjoying it. Well, I am no kid.

(Thanks to Mathi for Proof Reading and Corrections)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

"11'09"01 - September - 11" (2002) - Movie Review

The magnitude of an event does not necessarily propagate and impact the whole world as it supposed to in most of the cases. And when it does, it goes on as a long loose end of a rope with unknown origin and reasons. Some may find extreme pain in it while some may find momentary silliness and strangely, some may find it enjoyable for harmless reasons. There is always a human taboo emotions attached to each and every incident and happenings around us. Everyone has the darkest of all feelings and people choosing to go ahead with those in actions and some not to, is what differentiates the good from the evil. While some of the stories may astonish lot of the viewers shown in this movie, one has to always bear in mind that it is individual’s state of mind during those tragic events. The human mind is so complicated and unexplained that the immediate care and fear goes to their family rather than some stranger. This cruel truth needs to be inculcated in our minds to see our life and especially while watching this movie.

“11’09”01 - September 11” is made of eleven different short films originating from eleven different countries and directed by eleven different directors. Each movie has been filmed in such a way that the duration of each segment is eleven minutes and eleven seconds and a frame thus forming the name of the movie. Somewhere in the seventh or eighth segment, the contents were so tragic and sensitive; I decided not to write a review. After seeing the whole movie, I changed my decision because this is one movie everyone should know about and watch it during our lifetime.

This review does not contain any story details about the eleven films and it is for the viewers to watch it to experience the raw truth and movie elegance of this masterpiece.

It will be an injustice to art if one particular piece of work is singled out for appreciation from this brilliant painting made with human tragic, pain, sorrow, hate, regret and happiness. There are some untouched regions in this world, where the tender hearts of various people are unaware of this chaotic yet beautiful environment and the reflection of it is the highpoint of this movie. Everyone will try to remember what they were doing on that dark day in human history. Some of us would have planted our first seeds in our backyard, some of us would have failed our mid term exam, some of us would have had our first drink, some of us would have seen their first child, some of us would have cried and remembered their loved ones and that’s exactly what the eleven movies give us – minuscule details of our instinctive perception of actions.

As an art, it is a work of sheer perfection and intelligence. When some of the segments rely heavily on dialogues and expressions, some other segments shoulder the responsibility to the camerawork and silence. All the segments are arranged in an order wherein the viewer’s emotions are made numb, excite, strain, laugh and cry from segment to segment.

Alain Brigand, the French producer took this brave attempt of discovering the diverse human emotions in different forms of origin. Even though the making of the movie centers on the directors, Alain Brigand brought those beautiful minds around the globe to one single screen and delivered the momentum of the September 11 2001 in a totally unimaginable way.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

"Black Boards" (Language - Kurdish) (2000) - Movie Review

Culture plays an important role in all the movies and most of the times, the movie spins on its axis. This make it difficult for certain viewers who are from all together different culture and society structure to completely understand those movies. And if a movie breaks the shield of unawareness and reaches the audience still sticking to its culture, there the director achieves far more than a completion of an art. “Black Boards” directed by then 20 year old Samira Makhmalbaf is a virtual telescope from which the viewers watch the strange yet real world of remote parts of Iran.

The movie follows two characters who carry the black boards and are teachers. The land is dry, the weather is cold and food is a mirage, but they want to educate the few whom they meet on their way. They go to the deserted villages and shout. Not to sell fish or vegetables but to sell education. It is so pathetic and gives the heavy feeling, that the things taken for granted by so many people means so different to others when it is put across in a different place and culture. No one is ready to accept the education even for no cost. Still, it does not let down the two warriors of knowledge and they do the extremes to get the attention. One of them helps a group of elderly people to cross the border of Iran to Iraq while the other pursues his journey with a group of kids smuggling the stolen goods. How close they come to their completion of their destiny is this motion picture.

As stated by the director in her interview, except for few artists, rest of the actors were all recruited at the place they shot the movie. This gives the movie, the feel it demands - being “real”. The camera work would have involved lot of risk, due to the narrow pathways and high cliffs. The risk is worth it and is spectacular. The direction is offbeat and slow when it is compared to the commercial movies and they are totally essential to bring in the substance required.

“Black Boards” shows the lightness on the dark side of the world which has people who are clueless but hunting for their destiny, stubborn still helping each other and blindly cultural still having human values. It shows the way women are treated and how they find solace in their offspring. Even against all the odds, there are few people who are trying to fight for the most valuable treasure of human kind, “knowledge”. “Black Boards” reminds the viewers of the luxury they have got and the things which are taken for granted are so precious while considered useless for various other people.

Samira Makhmalbaf, brings out the questions and irony of the country from her own. She was 18 when she rocked the International Film Festivals with her first movie, “Apple” while the movies depicting the world of Iran, shows how women find it difficult to come up in the society. When there is a deep thought into this irony, it can be realized that the women are fighting and they are coming up in the society and Samira is the best example.

“Black Boards” may be slow as termed by regular commercial movie seekers and even senseless by some others, but one cannot deny the fact of realism attached into this artwork. Regardless of the genre, this movie without any question should be watched by all of them to make their “easy” education, the costliest of all.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

"The Wind Will Carry Us" (Language - Persian) (1999) - Movie Review

Styles of working out an art diverge in a wide form of ways with different creators handling it in a numerous ways. And when something like it needs to be implied in creating movies, the director goes for his own style or adapt to the already proven method. While taking up a well used and matured style may not seem as original, it would definitely make the work of creation less easy. Coming up with a whole new style, even though it appears to be the obvious choice for so many in this field, it takes lot of thinking to produce a material which will keep the audience engaged and curious throughout the period of the running time. “The Wind Will Carry Us”, directed by Abbas Kiarostami, is one such movie with such a unique style and elegance that keeps the audience comfortably restless and making them constantly ask questions in back of their mind.

In a long winding road, starts out a journey for an Engineer to a small village which has an old female expected to die in few days. The agenda for him is to capture the death ritual in his camera but unfortunately for him and fortunately for the female, she is getting better. The time flies on and he needs to learn the essence of life through the people, the animals, the village and the small lanes he makes friends of.

The movie is brutally natural in the making. The dialogues and scenes grab the viewer by their neck and drags on slowly and steadily into the small crooked lanes of the village. The movie is about the “Engineer” and the director desired to point it out in each and every frame. He achieved it by placing a fixed camera set on this character throughout the motion picture. He goes as much as of ignoring the rest of the characters in lot of scenes when the protagonist converses with someone.

The photography is one of the best I have seen lately and definitely would like to know the location of the village which they show as situated in a mountain with greeneries, reddish brown desert like sands, nice springs and carpets of crops nurtured in a single place. Editing followed out here is one of the techniques which have already been employed in the tamil movie “Uthiri Pookkal” of not letting the audience know the time frame of the events and it is worth the mention. The best part to mention the heights of directions is that the majority of the scenes take place in day time but the sequence before the final scene showing the transformation of darkness to slow birth of daylight depicting the awareness and realization of the protagonist of life is mountainous.

As per the earlier mentioning of the movie being extremely natural, it applies to the acting skills of the main character and also the rest of the cast as well. The movie has the brilliant performance and presentation of natural acting by Behzad Dorani.

As per the substance of the piece, there is tons of information implicit and explicit. The importance of education, friendship, guilt, responsibility and of all philosophy is mentioned throughout the movie in an artistic and subtle style. The poems form the spine of the movie and connect the dots of scattered concepts in the movie in a straight short line. It is another way of saying that all the answers for life are within themselves like there were in the Engineer’s head as poems but he never realized it till the end from the doctor.

This is definitely not a motion picture for people expecting something fast paced, descriptive and elaborate. It is a movie which provides the meeting of the real world with the real world through the work of art.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

"Lage Raho Munnabhai" (Language - Hindi) (2006) - Movie Review

As we have various kinds of music, paintings, and dances and so on and so forth, movies have those different kinds too. There are movies which have obscure story still clean execution and others which have clean story, still obscure execution. Those can be termed as “artistic” or “masala(spicy)” or both based on its execution and content. The content then delivers something into the minds of the audience. And if the viewers are able to carry those contents along with them and put a thought into it, there lies the success of any movie. “Lage Raho Munnabhai” delivers its content with all spiced up ingredients necessary to address all genre audiences.

“Lage Raho Munnabhai” has been sent as an individual entry into the Oscars and it may not be an “Oscar” worthy movie because personally Oscar or any other award is applied to the artistic nature of a movie just like any other artwork, but it is definitely a winner in conveying the message of Gandhism to us.

“Lage Raho Munnabhai” is the sequel or should be said as with the main two characters from the first one while a totally new and different story from its first one, “Munnabhai M.B.B.S”. Directed by Rajkumar Hirani and with comical performances of Sanjay Dutt as Munnabhai and Arshad Warsi as Circuit, the movie is a definite entertainer.

With expectations soaring high, Murli Prasad Sharma a.k.a Munnabhai this time impresses his “Radio” love Jhanvi played by Vidya Balan, by Gandhism. He meets her in person through a Radio Quiz Show and to full fill her promise to lecture her elderly friends, Munna hits the Gandhi Library and there he meets the Man himself, Gandhi. From there on, it’s a topsy turvy land of sentiments, laughter and lot of thought provoking sequences.

Personally, as an art, this movie may not qualify as one but still there is something which makes everyone sit and expect the “expected” and still enjoy it. Songs are not impressive as for repetitive hearing but fits well with the movie. There are some movies which anyone can watch numerous time and “Lage Raho Munnabhai” gives that feeling already when it is been watched. Really well thought or rather the old and simple formula of sticking with truth has been said with couple of laughable and emotional sequences.

As per the technical department goes, very simple screenplay with even spreading of scenes. The costumes and colour gives the modern interiors of a kindergarten nursery school, meaning cute and fresh. Dialogues are punchy and trendy when necessary while providing the crisp and clean Gandhian values. As per performances goes, it is been proven in “Munnabhai M.B.B.S” that Sanjay Dutt, Arshad Warsi and Booman Irani are capable and creative actors. They prove it once again.

“Lage Raho Munnabhai” is a movie which needs to be taken and kept in the deep minds of everyone. It is a wake up call to all, so that they look back on the principles and values which made our country, the foundation which lies in some of the people and makes this world live better. If the viewer does not tear the thoughts as he is going to do with the tickets of the movie, there lies the success of it.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

"Everything is Illuminated" (2005) - Movie Review

Past is something very much alive but still dead. It awakens the strange memories in all of us, reminding day in and day out that there is a constant search for reasons. The reasons for the actions and the result of which resulted in some more actions. The quest for finding the answers for those unanswerable past is something, “Everything is Illuminated” tries to. Liev Schrieber, known for his acting, stepped himself into the shoes of a director this time and adapted the very well acclaimed novel, “Everything is Illuminated”, written by Jonathan Safran Foer to the silver screen.

The journey of a young Jonathan Safran Foer played by Elijah Wood along with his tour guides Alex portrayed by Eugene Hutz and his grandfather acted by Boris Leskin with his interestingly creepy dog Sammy Davis Jr. Jr. (Yes, it is Jr. Jr), is what Liev Schrieber fills in this motion picture.

Viewers see a strange and quirky Jonathan collecting anything and everything he thinks as important which he fears he will forget. He learns that his grandfather was saved by a female in Ukraine during World War – II which makes him to travel and find the lady who gave his grandfather and himself a different life. Enters Alex with his broken but still musical English. He is the only way Jonathan can find and understand his very existence and the life he has because Alex is his translator. Alex’s supposedly “blind” grandfather gets interested by Jonathan’s search and serves as a driver along with his Dog. With these collage of characters, we see their road trip towards their past.

The movie has some extremely funny sequences and in particular, the Lunch (or dinner) scene, the three have. The scene is well placed, as it not alone serves as an Ice breaker for the three of those, but very well for the audience too. Spectacular style of execution in those five minutes of ultimate comical presentation. As all these series of events flow out, there is a serious thought process in all the three characters. Jonathan’s curiosity of meeting the person, Alex’s view towards the pre-war scenario and doubts on his mind regarding his involvement of his grandfather and his grandfather’s dark secret of his own. Once it starts, there are no comical instances but very secretive sensations and feelings run through the characters. Some lighter vein in further end would have made this movie some more appealing and of all, grab all the genre audiences.

There are moments in the movie suffering some sluggishness when things unfold but the timely narration comes as a nice solace to end this interesting journey.

Spellbinding locations and capturing the colours of those places is very impressive. As for screenplay, not a brilliant one, but pretty neat job for a movie in this genre. As for the acting department, the performances are very intense and composed from all the three main characters.

This is not a story wherein everyone can associate with the character. This is a story of three completely different characters sharing their common originality and their genesis. They find their existence due to their past. Some of those, they had control whereas some of them, they were not even there to control it. We cannot feel the exact pain what the people went through during those cruel wars but their past is all we have to learn from them. “Everything is Illuminated”, tries to illuminate those and show us the path towards our past.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

"Garden State" (2004) - Movie Review

Zach Braff, popularly known for his character J.D in the sitcom “Scrubs” debuted as a director in this movie. The story revolves around a young man who comes back to his home for his mother’s funeral. He reconnects with some of the people and the changes in his view towards life are essentially, “Garden State”.

Zach Braff as a frozen and hardened young man with the tinge of sudden reactions with total control is something one may not expect from this always comical J.D in “Scrubs”. The character, Andrew Largeman as a kid may have been your cousin or a junior kid when you were in high school or the corner house street kid who acted “weird” as the system termed it. He does not feel any emotion, which includes his own frustration of not feeling it. He finds himself in the midst of his old buddies with whom he does not mingle but watches them. He does not know whether he missed his home or whether he is lucky not to be out there wasted. With that, he meets the vivid and emotionally hyper active Sam, beautifully portrayed by Natalie Portman. And their interesting period of four days are captured closely and narrated in a state of ease and intensity mixed together.

It is of no surprise when I learnt that the movie was shot in 25 days since the screenplay is straightforward. There are no unnecessary “blackout” scenes to show the numb mind of Andrew or to depict some weird flashback scenes to confirm his psychological reactions to an event. The viewers talk with Andrew and listen to him. He tells his side of story and rest is left with the audience to think about it. The narration style is a comical poem with punctuations now and then at the right moments essential for an independent styled movie.

There are lots of funny moments which tickles you, makes you laugh out crazily and suddenly they give you this totally intense and tension in the screen, that it makes the viewers get up and pay more attention to the detail. The science of using that is very fragile since it may snap away the comical relief intended for that scene from the audience, but they have excelled it with such an ease. The cinematography is very fresh and refreshing to bring out the small town ambience. It is definite to bring back the memories of anyone’s native where they grew up and did all the mischief they are not supposed to.

The soundtrack of the movie was handpicked by Zach Braff himself and he won a Grammy Award in year 2005 for Best Compilation Soundtrack album for a motion picture, Television or Other Visual Media. Soundtrack definitely plays a major role for a movie and I have been impressed now and then with one or two songs in some movies but this is the second time that I felt all the songs are so sequenced and laid out; it brings out the right emotions for those particular instances. The first movie which had an impressive soundtrack is of course “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels”.

Garden State” is not about an only one emotionally confused man but it’s the same feeling in every one of us, trying to find out reasons to emote and react, rather than to feel it and express it at that moment.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest " (1975) - Movie Classics

Milos Forman directed “One flew over cuckoo’s nest” is a movie based on the book written by Ken Kessey. It is a story of a small time crook arriving at a Mental Institution and his acts making a difference. Jack Nicholson won an Oscar in the category of Best Actor in a Leading Role while Louise Fletcher won an Oscar in the category of Best Actress in a Leading Role. The movie itself won an Oscar in the category for the Best Picture Award.

Jack Nicholson nails the character of Randall P. McMurphy while the cold and icy Nurse Ratched played by Louise Fletcher proves she deserves the Oscar. Danny Devito, Brad Dourif, Will Sampson, Vincent Schiavelli, Christopher Lloyd, Sydney Lassick and William Redfield are the names everyone should learn to solemnly acknowledge their performance to remember in this lifetime. They have made their mark and their acting career does not require any more proof that they all can live a character without much strain.

The technique of showing the reactions of a person when some one else talks is definitely a not to miss factor in this movie. It is rumored that Nicholson and Forman had difference of opinion during the movie making and I guess those differences worked in their favor by giving their best to outrun each other in their respective department. It can be witnessed that the screenplay is so crisp and clean with no stuttering or confusion seen at any point in the movie. The dull and pale colour contrast makes the audience feel that they are watching all the events through a window outside of the institution.

There are enormous amount of information which are laid out in this movie. As for the content, lot of fun, emotion and values in life are scattered decoratively into this 133 minutes of motion picture. The institution as such can be compared to the perplexed, prejudiced and dictated world wherein everyone are bound by their own will, some are pushed while some are confused and thrown into their own prison.

When McMurphy arrives, his actions make him the superhero for the rest of the so-called “mentally ill” residents. They are amazed by his boldness and eloquence. While McMurphy feels like one, he realizes slowly that he and everyone else does not belong in this land of confusion. As for the “real world” where we live, every one of us looks out for a McMurphy to escape from Nurse Ratched constantly. Some times it is the battle with the others while most of the time, it is with them.

Like Nurse Ratched, all of us get addicted to the power of control over a period of time. The power of control, which makes us to do the most demonic things in an unexpected way. In that world, we find our “Chief”, we get our “Cheswick” and fight till our death. This is the success of this movie wherein it makes the audience think beyond the institution, think beyond the walls of constraints, think beyond the walls of judgments and of all think beyond the walls of ego. There the viewer can witness the one flew over the cuckoo’s nest.

(Thanks to Mathi for Proof Reading)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

"Uthiri Pookkal "(Language -Tamil) (1979) - Movie Classics

The start, the character definitions and the introductions were shown in the style of raw and plain meetings, which were the trends in those days. There were Clichéd moments only due to the reason that many after this movie have depicted those and unfortunately I have seen all those instead of the original, still could not avoid it. The characterizations of each and every person in the movie were given with proper substantiations. No Loose ends. This is Mr. X and he does this. He is someone who believes this and he does this for living. Completely Natural and subtle. Yes, Subtle is the word I would put forward as that of Mr. Mahendran's movie making. Most of the shots were up close the characters mainly to give room to emote properly and to give viewers the stunning reality.

It definitely needs some close watching and enjoyable sluggishness which leads to curiosity and makes you sit through till the end. One of the most interesting details in the movie is that, the director never gives any proper timeline of events for the audience. It is just assumed that so many months or weeks or days have passed. I would guess that the reason is to make the viewers think to adjust themselves to the particular scenario. This was done because the assumed pace of the movie which is required may not suit all the audiences. This intentional misplacement of time frame makes the audience to constantly assume and guess what happened in the past frame cuts makes the movie even more interesting.

Just when the viewers think of getting into a normal routine of events in a village, they are all surprised in an elegant and natural deviance. Take it the scene of "Panchayat" or the sessions with Charuhasan's character or Vijayan's character's subtle thinking. Everyone questions, What is going on in this person's mind? Why is he doing that? What can be done to make him realize all the mistakes he is doing? Hundreds of questions are all generated due to the astonishing and outstanding performance of Vijayan. One would think that Vijayan took away the lime light from all of the other performers but this is one of those movies wherein everyone gave their life to the character. A definite round of applause with standing ovation to all of the Actors/Actresses in the movie.

To be honest, till the last 15 minutes of the movie, the substance of the content never struck me only due to the reason that it is been watched after so many years. So many years of movies and so many years of repetitiveness. Then comes the ending which knocks down the viewers directly hitting their heart. With all those, the final speech is an Elegy to the people. The character is so negative and dark, one would try not to believe his words but there is so much truth in that statement that one cannot deny it. Subtlety in that too, indirectly saying that they are killing their souls. Surpassing that, the intention of the rest of the characters to have a final sympathy even for the dreadful character is the line in which we all live with some peace in this world. And with peace comes the background score of Illaiyaraja, who was kind of missing during the initial parts of the movie. No more to say about this legend.

Even though it looks like a very normal and clichéd movie, viewer can witness the emotions reacting and tumbling all the way to tell you a normal day to day story which happened in a small village. If Director K.Balachander can hit you with Brutal truths in a totally Taboo and unconventional way, Mahendran can tear your inner conscience with soft and soulful voice using a very normal story which can happen to anyone.

(Thanks to Mathi for Proof Reading and Corrections)