Category Archives: Other Languages

Other Language Movie Reviews

The Salesman Review

The Salesman Review – The Salesman is an Iranian drama released in 2016. The couple Emad and Rana move into a new apartment after their current apartment building collapses. Some unforeseen events happen that change their lives forever.

The movie has won the Academy Award for foreign film category for 2016. Director Asghar Farhadi creates a very emotional drama drawing parallels to the “Death of the Salesman” play by Arthur Miller which the couple is enacting in the theater.  The screenplay keeps you guessing until the end. The movie is quite engaging and there is never a dull moment. The climax as it unfolds explores the struggle between anger and forgiveness.

Shahab Hosseini’s performance is a standout in the entire drama. In particular, the way he has performed during the climax portion is impeccable. His performance is ably supported by Taraneh Alidoosti. Her looks convey more powerful emotions. Unlike some run of the mill thrillers where an action is thrilling here the way the characters react to a particular situation causes the thrill.

After such a powerful climax I felt bit hanging in the ending as it was open ended. I couldn’t immediately connect the interpretation that the director wanted us to have. However only later I got the emotional conflict portion between anger and forgiveness. You might be able to draw a different interpretation. If you do share it in the comments section. Although this is a well-made movie, I wasn’t sure if this is path breaking to win an academy award compared to the other nominations we had in that category.

High Points: A very engaging screenplay, The performance of the lead actors, the powerful climax and the conflict drawn between anger and forgiveness.

Low Points: If you haven’t read or watched the play “Death of a Salesman” you would find it hard to understand the parallels. The ending leaves you hanging for you to decide the conclusion.

Overall The Salesman is an excellent thriller drama and stands apart from the run of the mill thrillers. You would enjoy this more if you have watched the play by Arthur Miller. The climax being open ended may not connect with everyone.

Worth a Watch

 

Baahubali 2: The Conclusion Review

Baahubali 2: The Conclusion Review – Baahubali 2 is a Telugu historical fantasy fiction released in 2017. This movie is a sequel to the Baahubali: The Beginning released in 2015. Shivdu, after rescuing his mother from the prison has to take over Mahishmati kingdom by defeating Bhallaladeva to regain his father’s glory. The movie is also released in Tamil, Malayalam, and Hindi as well.

More than Shivdu’s plight, the expectation has turned towards the reason as to why Kattappa had killed Baahubali. There are no much surprises here. I am not going to reveal it and spoil the fun for you.  The movie is an out and out visual grandeur with a lot of war sequences. The visual effects are quite stunning with some great production quality. Rajamouli is a true magician for he makes everything believable and when you sort of think logic he has slipped in emotions for you to overlook it.  Prabhas, Ramyakrishnan and Sathyaraj have a more elaborate role to play in this edition. Anushka plays a younger avatar and the love interest of Amarendra Baahubali. Rana’s performance comes only in the second half of the movie.

Certain key sequences in the movies have been done really well. The initial war sequence in Anushka’s palace, the pivotal scene of Kattappa killing Baahubali, the interval block. All these sorts of gives you goosebumps.  There are many minimum guarantee cliched sequences as well in an attempt to please a wider variety of audiences like the introduction of Prabhas, catapulting using a Palm tree, the final war sequence. Despite these the movie still keeps you engaged for the 2 hours 47 minutes of run time. The creative touch in the titles using brass statue figures to cover the highlights of the first part of the movie is brilliant.

One of the key element I look forward to in Rajamouli’s movies is the characterisation. The stand out is the characterisation of Rajamaata and Amarendra Baahubali. Rana and Anushka’s characters have been constructed well. I felt Kattappa’s characterization has mellowed down from the first part. He fills in for the role of hero’s sidekick in the first half of the movie. While the performance is enjoyable, but having seen Kattappa fierce fully jumping on his enemies to save Sivagami this did not go well for me. While focussing on visual grandeur the script loses the emphasis on drama. For instance, Anushka trying to practice with two arrows just passes through subtle when compared to Shivdu’s irresistible desire to climb the mountain in the first part. You could see many instances where the script hasn’t given any time for you to soak in the drama of the scene. Whenever the drama is created even fewer instances it is quite a treat to watch for instance Bhallaladeva stopping his father from speaking in the meeting and letting him loose at an opportune moment, the crown ceremony during the interval block.

The climax fight looked to be a cloying overdose of special effects and emotions.

High Points: Visual Effects, the interval block as in the first part, Prabhas, Rana, Ramyakrishnan and Sathyaraj’s performance, the initial war sequences, Kattappa killing Baahubali.

Low Points: Cliched sequences of the hero worship. The BGM scores well in key sequences otherwise it was a forgettable affair for me. Kattapa’s character transformation to be hero’s sidekick performing comical acts. The Catapulting sequence using palm trees.

Overall Baahubali 2 is a much greater visual grandeur compared to its prequel. In a haste to cater to formalities, it fails to bring in the punch like its prequel. Nevertheless, it is a treat to watch this on the big screen.

Worth a Watch

 

 

Paulina Review

Paulina Review – Paulina is a Spanish drama released in 2015.  A young woman leaves a promising career as a lawyer in Buenos Aires to go back to her suburban hometown and teach in a high school. In a sudden turn of events, she becomes a gang rape victim. Amidst of disapproval from the people she still returns back to teach in the same school.

The movie is inspired by the 1960 movie La patota. I had got to watch this in Bangalore International Film Festival 2017. The movie deals with the subject of a rape victim from a point of view of the victim. The movie explores the point of view which usually is ignored by many movies dealing with the same subject. The movie is characterized by some lengthy shots. It also repeats the same scene in from a different point of view one of the lead character and the other of the different characters in the movie. This has effectively played into the treatment of the plot.

Dolores Fonzi has performed the role of Paulina very well. The way she copes with the situation and stubborn to do what she wants to do is brilliant. The lengthy shot of her walk along with the camera is so impactful.

Many of you may not be able to understand Paulina much like her father or her boyfriend. You dwell more into what is moral and what is the right thing to be done for greater good. She doesn’t speak of morals. She does not harm herself, does not go after to avenge the criminal, does not forgive him. Instead, she wants to find out who he is, wants to talk to him, continue doing what she had been doing in her village. She is a character that is always wanting to live a normal life. When she is faced with some tough questions by her father, boyfriend, and her colleague, she has a blank stare as the answer she wants to give them is beyond words.

High Points: Long shots to increase the intensity of the drama, the two perspective shots from her front and back. The front conveying her perspective and back conveying others is a brilliant stroke.

Low Points: This is not a feel-good tale, it is going to hurt your emotions and in a way make you feel guilty. There is no logic to the solution.

Overall Paulina is a high intense drama that would hit you hard. Still, you can’t forget those look in her eyes questioning the behavior of the society. The society thinks that her life has changed forever after the incident, but she thinks she still has the right to lead a normal life. The contrast is brilliantly portrayed.

Worth a Watch

Very Big Shot Review

Very Big Shot Review – Very Big Shot is a Lebanese comedy film released in 2015. Three brothers who are into drug dealing business take up one last job before they set out to go clean and straight to open a restaurant business.

I had watched this movie in the Bangalore International Film Festival 2016. How I wished Tamil movie Jigarthanda’s second half was something like this. Anyways that is my personal views which many may differ to agree. Without getting into that argument let me talk about Very Big Shot. The movie is a gangster drug lord flick at the outset. However, there is a very sensible humor throughout the script right from the first shot. Once the gangsters figure out that film roles are spared from being screened at the airport, they decide to become a producer of a film. The movie gets very interesting from there on and it is a ride filled with loads of laughter.

The screenplay has been done very nicely to ensure there is a logical flow to the whole story. The characters have been created and established the way they fit into the situations well. There is no point it looks force fitted. Usually, comedy movies suffer from the phenomenon of force fitting humor into the script.

High Points: The scene where Ziad (eldest of the brothers) decide to make a movie to smuggle the drugs, the filmmaking scene where the Bhurka clad lady is stopped and the onlookers jump in to create a commotion without realising it is a shooting.

Low Points: As the humor is built around the movie making process, this humor may not work for all.

Overall, Very Big Shot is a wholesome entertainer that would make you laugh and keep you engaged throughout the movie. If you get a chance to watch this one do give it a try.

Must Watch

One Man and His Cow Review

One Man and His Cow Review – One Man and His Cow is a French comedy movie released in 2016. Fatah a peasant from Algeria travels on foot with his Cow Jacqueline to compete in Paris International Agriculture Show.

Yet another gem I had seen during the Bangalore International Film Festival. The movie is a joint collaboration between France and Algeria. This easily is one of the sweetest feel good movie I had watched recently. The best part of the movie is its simplicity. They have used the resources available to them very economically to convey a heart warming story. Fatah and his cow steal the viewer’s heart right from the first scene where he gives a motivational speech to his Cow on how she would win in the competition. The characters in the village are also naive and very realistic.

There is also some excellent screenplay construction of tracking his journey through lessons in a classroom where its everyday task of the students is to point the place in the map where Fatah and his cow are currently. Usually, filmmakers cover it with a cliched map and a red line going through it. But hearing it through the class makes it very interesting.  The class stops tracking him after crosses the border which I believe is a sarcastic indication of how the developed nations are so clueless about the life outside. The introduction of Lambert Wilson’s role as Philippe adds a very interesting dimension to the tale. The interactions between Phillippe and Fatah draw the contrast between the two worlds they belong to.

High Points: The overall feel good factor, The peach drink scene, the scene in which Fatah tries to write a letter to his wife, the climax scene.

Low Points: There is not really a low point in the movie as it is sincere to its screenplay.

Overall One Man and His Cow will make you laugh, touch the soft corners of your heart and bring a big smile on your face.

Must Watch

A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove – A Man Called Ove is a Swedish comedy-drama released in 2015. This is based on the book by Fredrik Backman. 59-year-old Ove decides to end his life and join his late wife in the other world. But ending his life doesn’t seem so easy.

This is yet another gem of a movie which I was able to see at Bangalore International Film Festival 2017. The movie is nominated for the Academy awards 2016 under the foreign language films and best hair makeup and styling category. I haven’t read the book yet. The movie was as enjoyable like reading a book. The simplicity of the tale and the reaction of the characters to the day to day problem is a great strength to the movie. There are no larger than life incidents or characters.

Rolf Lassgård’s performance as Ove is the best part of the movie. The other characters in the movies are also sketched beautifully. Director Hannes Holm has maintained the naivety of the tale in the movie as well.  This makes it a very pleasant watch. The movie has good humor that arises out of the characters, situation and the interaction between them. The portions where Ove’s obsession for Volvo cars is involved were hilarious.

High Points: Simple story line, the innocence of the tale is a strong point, Performance of Rolf Lassgård is a big strength for the movie, The romance sequence between husband and wife is picturized well. The humor in the screenplay works very well to keep the audience engaged throughout.

Low Points: For the love of Ove you would tend to ignore any low points.

Overall the movie appears to be a sincere attempt in getting the book to real life. Combined with great visuals and stunning performances the movie is a pleasant watch.

Must Watch

Kills on Wheels Review

Kills on Wheels Review – Kills on Wheels (Tiszta szívvel) is a Hungarian comedy film released in 2016. Two disabled teenagers find a reason to live when they get associated with a wheel-chaired hitman.

This is yet another movie I had an opportunity to watch in Bangalore International Film Festival. This is the first Hungarian movie I am watching. Right from the main title card, the movie kept me engaged. The plot line looks very simple and naive but a number of layers added to the screenplay and the characters have been phenomenal.  There was always something waiting to surprise you. The hitman assignments have been shot very well and many of them have been gripping. In particular their final assignment. When you are already blown away by the story you had witnessed so far, the director surprises you with yet another beautiful twist in the movie to leave you elated as you leave the hall.

If you are film student then this is a movie you should watch for many aspects, the layers you add to a screenplay in terms of characters and situations, the background score, mise en scene to name a few. I can’t write too much about the plot and their twists as it would spoil the movie for you. This one happens to be the official nomination from Hungary for the Academy awards but unfortunately did not get nominated.

High Points: The characterization of the lead characters. In particular the boy with autism and the hitman. The final assignment of the hitman set out to kill Toni. The twist in the climax sequence. The title soundtrack.

Low Points: I did not find any low points for this one. If any had been well covered by a great execution.

Overall, the movie works well in entertaining the audience and leave the elated. Don’t miss this one.

Must Watch