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Monday, February 27, 2006

Two movies

Saw two movies this weekend, one was brilliant and the other was rubbish.

Crash - Beautifully shot, slickly edited, lovingly constructed drama about prejudice. While it is racial prejudice that forms the theme of the movie, the elements of the movie would work just as well if you transposed it to any other type of prejudice. The beauty of the film is that it steers clear of portraying the issue as black-and-white (pun intended). While it's a serious film and asks some hard questions, it is also gripping and thoroughly entertaining. It's been a while since I've gotten so involved in a film that I've screamed aloud when a gun-shot is fired. It's a mosaic of a number of stories that occasionally intersect. Most of the acting is superb, with Don Cheadle and Matt Dillon standing out. Brendan Fraser as a big-shot District Attorney somehow doesn't work, I don't know if it's his acting or whether it's just the fact that he has, in the past, played Encino Man...I mean....Encino Man can't become the DA right? But go see the film, it's something else. I would put it in the class of House of Sand and Fog and American History X, both of which I loved.

Taxi No 9211 - A friend had suggested that this looks like a rip-off of the Tom Cruise-Jamie Foxx starrer Collateral. While it turns out my friend was wrong, we left the hall wishing that the director had just copied some movie. I can't figure out which is worse, shameless lifting of Hollywood movies a la Ek Ajnabee (Man on Fire) and Chocolate (The Usual Suspects) or pointless, contrived yet 'original' cinema like Taxi No 9211. This one fails because it simply has no plot, and Milan Luthria doesn't have the Farhan Akhtar touch to make a plot-less movie work solely on style. While Nana Patekar delivers a great performance, it is undermined completely by John Abraham's non-acting. Sonali Kulkarni manages to look far sexier in a saree than Sameera Reddy does in her skimpy outfits, and delivers a convincing performance to boot. I won't relate the 'story' because it is too painful. Some good one-liners and occasional flashes of brilliance from Nana Patekar can't save this clunker. The music by Vishal-Shekhar is, as usual, crap.

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