Thursday, 31 January 2013

Hansel And Gretel - Witch Hunters (2013) Review by Shivom Oza – Wicked Spin On Iconic Fairy-tale

2.5/5 Stars

‘Hansel And Gretel – Witch Hunters’, written and directed by Tommy Wirkola, is a part-gory-part-raunchy-part-comic and mostly-fantasy film. It is based on the continuation to the German fairy tale ‘Hansel And Gretel’. The two siblings grow up to become witch hunters, who get challenged by a group of deadly witches, which are out to attain unassailability.

The film offers regular doses of laughter, butchering, witty one-liners and gorgeous ladies. Gemma Arterton (Gretel - the pick of the lot), Famke Janssen (the witch/antagonist), Joanna Kulig, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal and Pihla Viitala look ethereal on-screen (for those playing the witches, only when they take up the human form). You could watch this film just for Gemma! Otherwise, the film is a decent-watch. Something you could watch at home, but not really worth spending money on.

There is not much of a story here. Following the original ‘fairy tale’, the film shows the older Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton). They turn into witch hunters and keep the humans safe! As the ‘ominous’ Blue Moon approaches, the witches congregate to capture the two famed witch hunters in order to attain unassailability. The witches are led by the powerful-yet-evil Muriel (Famke Janssen). Hansel-Gretel, aided by a white witch Mina (Pihla Viitala) and Ben (Thomas Mann).

Even though the script does falter, the dialogues are quite witty. The director has focused enough on aspects such as Gemma’s irresistible looks, romantic angle between Hansel and Mina and harmless banter between most characters. So, the film, at large, does manage to entertain. The 3D is non-existent. CGI in some parts is below-par. Action sequences have been well conceived and shot. Overall, the film isn’t extraordinary but neither is it avoidable. A decent one-time watch, YET, it would be advisable you rent the DVD.

Decent fare!  Worth watching at home!

Shivom Oza

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Midnight’s Children (2013) Review by Shivom Oza – A De-adaptation!

2/5 Stars

Academy award-nominated filmmaker Deepa Mehta goes on to adapt Salman Rushdie's Booker Prize-winning-novel 'Midnight's Children' with the film 'Midnight's Children'. The film revolves around the lives of children born 'at the stroke of the midnight hour' on August 15, 1947, which left British India independent and divided into India and Pakistan. Two children, Saleem and Shiva, get swapped at the hospital and their lives change forever.

The film is a mix of different genres - political drama, satire, romance, magical realism and much more. It could have been an interesting watch, had it been directed more astutely and in a unidirectional manner (too many side-plots) and made on a larger scale. However, this take is a complete disappointment. It fails to live up to any of the aforementioned themes and ends up beating around the bush (for close to 150 minutes!).

At midnight on August 15, 1947, as India gains independence, two new-born babies are switched by a nurse Mary (who has been brainwashed by her lover into believing that the rich will have to become poor and the poor, rich!), played by Seema Biswas, in a hospital in Bombay. Saleem Sinai (Darsheel Safary and Satya Bhabha), the illegitimate son of poor woman, and Shiva (Siddharth), a child to a well-off couple (Amina, played by Shahana Goswami, and Ahmed Sinai, played by Ronit Roy), are swapped and end up leading lives meant for each other. Their life-story is set to the back-drop of the increasing tensions amid India and Pakistan. Saleem ends up serving for the Pakistan army and Shiva becomes an army officer for the Indian army. Shiva has always resented Saleem for being a rich man's son, and consequently, more fortunate. Amidst all the drama, we are introduced to other characters such as the mysterious conjurer Parvati (Shriya Saran), her mentor Picture Singh (Kulbhushan Kharbanda), the Pakistani major Zulfikar (Rahul Bose), his gorgeous wife Emerald (Anita Majumdar) and in the preceding portions of the film (circa 1910s), Rajat Kapoor plays Amina's (she had a turbulent past, which came back to haunt her, with a man named Nadir Khan, played by Zaib Shaikh) father, Aadam Aziz.

'Midnight's Children' has many inconsequential sub-plots within the entire plot, which kind of becomes bearable owing to the dramatic ending. However, at large, the film is a dampener and fails to evoke any emotion. The historic incidents are marred with over-the-top acting and terrible dialogue writing. It is not clear whether Indira Gandhi's character was meant to be a spoof. If it was, it shouldn't have been. With the makers having been so gutsy to actually show the happenings of the Emergency in the film, the least they could have done is to lend some seriousness to the chief protagonist/antagonist of the entire saga. Our late Prime Minister has been portrayed in terrible light in the film. Even if they wanted to lend a dictatorial element to her character, they could have done away with the caricaturing. Furthermore, some of the scenes in the film, which incorporate a lot of jargons associated with India, even fail to strike a chord with the Indian viewer. Wonder why they couldn’t let the principal characters communicate to each other in Hindi/Urdu instead of English, albeit with subtitles. 'Slumdog Millionaire' did that and bagged an Oscar. The film is good in some parts, in particular, the ending. However, the film, despite having great potential premise-wise, fails to put forward a great story. Haven't read the book, but does it really matter? A film is a story and if it's badly told, it's just bad. Doesn't matter if it's original or adapted!

Among the actors, Siddharth, Rahul Bose, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Rajat Kapoor, Anupam Kher, Shabana Azmi do a fine job. Ronit Roy's character is strikingly similar to his disciplinarian father act in 'Udaan'. Although he does well yet again, it's nothing new. There are two terrible CGI sequences, both involving bomb blasts. There is also one scene in which Siddharth is shown riding a bike and the frame shakes vigorously. Wonder why! One particular sequence that is enjoyable in the film is when Kulbhushan's Picture Singh addresses his snake as 'Karan'! Such light-hearted moments are too few and far in between. The scenes in which Saleem talks to his fellow Midnight's Children are delightful. It's one of those films where there are moments of brilliance within lots of below-par fare! Avoidable!

Shivom Oza

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Les Misérables (2013) Review by Shivom Oza – That Little Bit Of Magic!

4/5 Stars

‘Les Misérables’ is a 2012 British musical film, adapted from the musical of the same name by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, which in turn was based on Victor Hugo’s French novel, ‘Les Misérables’.

What does cinema mean to you? Would you watch a musical (mind you there are no dialogues, just songs), which is 2 hours 37 minutes long, purely because you love films? Do you believe that cinema has the ability to make you a better person? Do you believe that films change lives, or to put it a bit more mildly, your day? ‘Les Misérables’ does that. This grand, elaborate lyrical presentation strikes a chord, and how!

Circa 1815, convict Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) is released on parole by prison guard Javert (Russell Crowe), after serving a nineteen-year sentence. However, Jean escapes the parole and lives a comfortable life elsewhere, using a different name. Nine years later, he is caught by Javert. This time, he escapes yet again, albeit along with a factory worker Fantine’s (Anne Hathaway) daughter, Cosette (Amanda Seyfried).

The plot spans 17 years and is set against a backdrop of political turmoil, which in the film culminates in the June Rebellion of France.

Claude-Michel Schönberg’s soundtrack, comprising 30-odd songs, is ‘enchanting’. Be it the introductory hard-hitting number ‘Look Down’ (Chain Gang, Javert and Valjean) or the ethereal rendition of ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ (Fantine), the magical ‘A Heart Full of Love’ (Marius, Cosette and Éponine) or the heart-numbing ‘Javert’s Suicide’ (Javert), all the songs in the film are beyond brilliant.

Even better than the music and lyrics are the performers; in Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried and Eddie Redmayne, the line-up is magnificent. Special mention for the hilarious track, featuring Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter, who infuse this melancholic film with lighter moments. Watch out for this electric (and eccentric) duo in the film. Another noteworthy performance was by the gorgeous Samantha Barks, who plays Éponine. Her rendition of the tragic ‘On My Own’ is certain to make you watery-eyed. The music is just one of the terrific aspects of ‘Les Misérables’.

What about the visuals? The magnificent sets, the beautiful camerawork (stupendous cinematography by Danny Cohen) and the spellbinding costumes take you to that country, to that era! The aerial shots are one of the best that you will ever witness on the big screen. Who needs gimmicks like 3D, 48 fps, when you can produce such marvellous visuals, without much ado? The music of the film may be transcendental, but the visuals are not much far-behind on the mystical front!

The film has been divided into four segments. One includes Javert’s own story, second is about Fantine’s tragic circumstances, third deals with the conniving innkeeper couple, Thénardier and Madame Thénardier (Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter steal the show, quite literally!) and the fourth is the love-triangle between Marius, Cosette and Éponine. Towards, the end, the segments take place in the backdrop of the French Rebellion. So, after all the romance and the tragedy, the latter half of the film manages to encapsulate patriotic fervour as well! The cast/performers of the film have done a brilliant job of singing and emoting at the same time. Moreover, all the songs have been performed live on-set, so you may as well lavish more praise on their efforts.

Tom Hooper, who already has an Academy award for Best Direction (‘The King’s Speech’), has come up with another Oscar-worthy effort!

Actually, won’t matter even if he doesn’t take the trophies back home! This film is an achievement in itself.

Tom Cruise had said this at an award function once, something on the lines of ‘what is cinema? That little bit of magic!’ ‘Les Misérables’ is that, and more.

Shivom Oza

Thursday, 17 January 2013

The Last Stand (2013) Review by Shivom Oza – Doesn’t Stand A Chance

2/5 Stars

The dreaded leader of a drug cartel escapes out of an FBI van and sets off in his speed demon, Corvette ZR1, to the Mexican border. An innocuous sheriff, along with inexperienced accomplices, tries his best to stop the escapee.

While the action (comprising several chase sequences) in the film is above-par, the story just doesn’t make the cut. Arnold Schwarzenegger ambles away as the leading man, but even he looks tired and disinterested. The writing, which includes the plot and the dialogues, is not strong enough and at two hours, the film doesn’t have enough steam to hold your attention.

After leaving his LAPD narcotics post following an unsuccessful operation, Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger) moves out and settles down in the peaceful Summerton Junction as the Sheriff. However, the peace gets marred when Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega), a dreaded drug kingpin, escapes from the FBI’s clutches. With assistance from Burrell (Peter Stormare) and his men, Cortez speeds away towards the US-Mexico border at breath-taking speed in a modified Corvette ZR1 with a captured hostage. FBI agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker) will have his final chance to nab Cortez at Summerton, before he makes the final dash across the border. That’s when Ray and his team come in!

The film doesn’t offer much, in terms of action, story, thrills or Arnold! Yes, even the mega-action star fails to salvage anything out of this lost cause. There are a couple of scenes, one wherein Cortez escapes and another where one of Ray’s men goes berserk over the villains, which manage to hold your unwavering attention. However, at two hours, the film is too long and tedious. The ‘emotional’ moments in the film don’t strike a chord, and you may hardly guffaw, as several supposedly funny gags play out on the screen.

Director Jee-woon Kim could have done better with a cleverer script. ‘The Last Stand’ doesn’t stand a chance!

Shivom Oza

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Broken City (2013) Review by Shivom Oza - Wahlberg's Moment Of Reckoning

3.5/5 Stars

New York City finds itself in a pitiable state, as incumbent Mayor Nicholas Hostetler double-crosses and frames an ex-cop-turned-private-detective Billy Taggart, in order to regain his position in the upcoming elections.

With the superlative performances by the cast (including stalwarts such as Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta-Jones), a powerful, albeit meandering, screenplay, enchanting background music and a fairly engaging plot, 'Broken City' has all the makings of the perfect weekend entertainer.

Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) is a former-cop-turned-private-eye. New York City mayoral elections are underway, and the cunning incumbent Nicholas Hostetler (Russell Crowe) is willing to do anything to keep his position by beating his rival Jack Valliant (Barry Pepper).

According to Nicholas, the people of New York City will elect anybody as the Mayor, but a man who has been cheated on by his partner. He suspects his wife, Cathleen Hostetler, of having an affair with somebody. He hires Billy to take photographs of his wife's partner.

Billy's got his own back-story. Seven years ago (before present day in the movie), he had shot dead Mikey Tavarez (Luis Tolentino), a man who raped and killed his girlfriend Natalie Barrow's (Natalie Martinez) younger sister. Now, while Billy gets away from being imprisoned, owing to the intervention of Nicholas, he has to return the favour. Nicholas makes it obligatory for Billy to say yes to his errand, for which he was willing to pay $50,000. Now, there are several twists and turns in the film, most of them being immensely fascinating. It would really spoil your experience if they are revealed. Let's just say that Billy is in for multiple rude shocks, while he goes about this easy-looking task.

The story is meandering, but at no point, are you flummoxed to the point of being disinterested. The film manages to engage you throughout its duration. The lovely background score forms a wonderful foil to the thrilling visuals. The dramatic scenes between Billy and Nicholas, Billy and his girlfriend Natalie, and, in particular, the election debate, are excellently played out. The performances by the cast, Russell, Wahlberg and Catherine, are beyond brilliant. Wahlberg, who can be safely termed as the lone protagonist, gives an effortless performance. A bit more humour in his character would have worked perfectly, though. Russell Crowe is brilliant as the conniving mayor and so is Catherine Zeta-Jones, in a short, yet significant role. The supporting cast does a wonderful job as well. The few drawbacks in the film are as follows; unnecessary back-story and not enough reasoning given for the twists. Yes, you could take as many leaps of faith as you wish to, but those looking for a flawless plot will be left a tad disappointed. For a debut feature film, director Allan Hughes has done a marvellous job. The best part about the film was that it has no black-and-white. All characters have shades of grey, and come with their own infirmities. That helps a lot in making the story believable.
This film mixes the following genres, Drama, Action and Thriller, perfectly. Don't miss it!

Shivom Oza

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Gangster Squad (2013) Review by Shivom Oza – Enthralling Actioner!

3/5 Stars

Los Angeles, circa 1949, Brooklyn-born gang lord Mickey Cohen runs the show in Los Angeles. With the police and the politicians under his thumb, Cohen has been reaping the ill-gotten gains from his businesses in drugs, guns and prostitutes, and the occasional wire bets placed west of Chicago.

This is until a group of five men, from LAPD, take it upon themselves to rid Los Angeles of Cohen.

The trailer of the film, which was released sometime around June last year, created quite a stir amongst the audiences. The film itself, sadly, doesn’t quite match up to the electrifying promo. However, for all its intense action sequences, impeccable costumes, witty dialogues and superlative performances, ‘Gangster Squad’ is certainly worth a watch. It’s an ode to the great Hollywood mafia films of the 70s and the 80s. Doesn’t quite cut it like them, but ends up being an enjoyable ride anyway.

So, Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) has been terrorizing everyone and anyone in Los Angeles, his own men notwithstanding. His act in the film, involves beating his foes to pulp (although, he maintains his boxing days are behind him), womanizing (his latest moll is the gorgeous Grace Faraday (Emma Stone)), dining with chief justices and politicians and tightening them under the noose, while going about handling his prospering ‘illegal’ businesses. The people fear him and the establishment is intimidated by him. Thus, comes the moment of reckoning for Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin). A tough cop, John doesn’t get bogged down by Cohen or his men. Strong enough to overpower three goons at a time and as honest as a mirror, John is summoned by Chief Parker (Nick Nolte) to ditch his police badge and head a group of vigilantes to not KILL, but destroy and eventually drive Cohen out of Los Angeles.

So, here they are, the loving husband John O’ Mara (his pregnant wife Connie O'Mara (Mireille Enos) doesn’t seem to agree), Det. Navidad Ramirez (hilarious, watch out for his lines) (Michael Peña), Det. Conway Keeler (great father-son track involving him) (Giovanni Ribisi), tough nut Det. Rocky Washington (Anthony Mackie), Det. Max Kennard (old-but-sharp) (Robert Patrick) and the inimitable Sgt. Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling). Together, this ‘gangster squad’ wreaks havoc on Cohen and his men.

Sean Penn is terrific as the menacing gang lord Michael Cohen. The diction, the dressing, the swagger and the evil instinct is very much inherent in the leading antagonist and Sean pulls the character off with élan. Josh Brolin is terrific as John O’ Mara. Understated during the emotional scenes, and belligerent in the action sequences, Josh delivers a fine performance.

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone share sparkling chemistry. Emma’s introductory scene, where she is being regaled by the charming Ryan, is delightful. The dialogues in this film are beyond brilliant.

Here are a few exhibits,

Wordplay between Ryan’s Jerry and Emma’s Grace –

Grace - What’s your racket, handsome?

Jerry - I’m a Bible salesman.

Grace - You wanna take me away from all this and make an honest woman out of me ?

Jerry - No, Ma’m. I was just hoping to take you to bed.

Yet Another - 

Cohen’s Man – I’m so sorry Mr.Cohen. That will never happen again. I swear to God.

Sean Penn’s Cohen – You’re talking to God, so you might as well swear to me.

It’s not just the lines, but the way they look on-screen. The costumes and the sets are terrific, offering that irreplaceable nostalgia of the classic ‘gangster’ films. There are moments in the film, where the relentless action may irk you a bit, but thankfully, it does not overstay its welcome. At just under two hours, the film is paced quite well and manages to keep you engaged. Director Ruben Fleischer has made an enjoyable film. Full of pulp, this! There are a few inconsistencies, which mar the plot, such as the basic concept of ‘six men waging war against countless criminals’, the fact that Cohen never gets the squad killed despite knowing their whereabouts, and Grace moving in and out of her romantic liaison with Jerry so conveniently among a few more. However, the film, in essence, doesn’t make you wrack your brains over the plot.

‘Gangster Squad’ is a linear story, told in the most entertaining manner. It’s a one-time watch!

Shivom Oza

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Dehraadun Diary (2013) Review by Shivom Oza – Just Doesn’t Make The Cut!

1.5/5 Stars

A young couple, madly in love, gets separated when the girl’s elder brother, already accused in a murder case, kills the boy. The boy’s family, notably his younger brother, takes the girl’s family to court to fight for justice. It touches upon several issues such as politician-police nexus, honour killings and corruption.

The intention to make this film was good; however, the execution fails on several counts. Actors such as Rohit Bakhshi and Ashwini Kalsekar have done a good job. Adhyayan Suman is a let-down despite having a powerful role. Rati Agnihotri’s character is supposed to be disoriented, but she seems disinterested. There are a handful number of decent scenes in the film, in particular, the courtroom drama. However, in entirety, the film is a let-down and should be avoided.

Anshul Sharma (Rohit Bakhshi) proposes marriage to Priti Thakur (Ragini Nandwani), an infamous politician’s daughter. Anshul, his parents, and his brother Aakash (Adhyayan Suman) are eager to have Priti enter their home as a newly-wed bride. However, Priti’s father and her goony brother, Vishesh Thakur (Vishal Bhonsle) disapprove of the boy. Vishesh ends up killing Anshul, leaving everybody else shocked and in disarray. A courtroom drama ensues. After a few hits and misses, witnesses turning hostile, tampering of evidence, and the backing out of the lawyer, enters the fiery Advocate Dipali (Ashwini Kalsekar). The courtroom scenes were pulled of quite well. However, there is the unnecessary music and the frequent hamming by the cast members. There are awful films made in the industry, but this one did have potential. The first-half was bearable, but the second half totally gets on to your nerves. The heroine of the film had a bad role, and her acting was even worse. Adhyayan should look for another profession. He does put in good effort, but the results are just not satisfactory.

‘Dehraadun Diary’ is not a film I would recommend. Watch out for the actors, Rohit Bakhshi and Ashwini Kalsekar, albeit in other films!  

Shivom Oza

Friday, 4 January 2013

CZ12 (2013) Review by Shivom Oza – Major Disappointment!

0.5/5 Stars

‘Chinese Zodiac’, also known as ‘CZ12’, has JC searching the world for 12 artefacts (12 bronze heads of the animals from the Chinese zodiac).

There are umpteen number of commercial potboilers that release in India, including films such as ‘Dabangg 2’, ‘Son Of Sardaar’, ‘Singham’ etc. Such films have low-brow humour, inane plots, whimsical characters and, most importantly, a larger-than-life superstar who brings in the numbers at the box-office. The downside to such films is that they can only work within a particular region, in this case, India, and for a certain kind of audience, in this case Indians. They fail to cross the cultural barrier, and no matter, how humungous their popularity is within their country, these films do not strike a chord with foreign audiences. ‘CZ12’ is one-such film. It’s a ‘Dabangg 2’, albeit from China. Unwatchable!

JC (Jackie Chan) is hired by shady antiques dealers to track down six missing bronze animal-heads, part of a treasure looted in the 1800s from the Old Summer Palace, outside Beijing, by the British in the Second opium war, by all means possible. The six bronzes were initially part of a set of twelve, representing the animals of the Chinese Zodiac.

JC, and his team, head to France, where two of the bronze-heads are believed to be tucked away. The operation to acquire the bronzes from Chateau leads JC into an uneasy alliance with Coco (Xingtong Yao), a Chinese student in Paris, an active participant in a global movement, which campaigns for stolen cultural treasures to be returned to their homeland.

Along the way, JC makes an enemy-for-life of Pierre, the chief of staff at the Chateau Marceau, and an unexpected friend of Katherine, a bankrupted aristocrat whose home contains another of the missing bronzes. The trail next leads JC and his team, now including Coco and Katherine, to a forgotten tropical island in the South Seas, where two missing animal heads are found in a beached wreck.

Back home, JC learns that his employers have bluffed him all along and already have the sixth missing bronze-head in their possession. A stunned JC sets to teach them a lesson for tricking him.

If you’re still reading this, the plot is a lost cause. The only reason why you should watch the film is that it may be Jackie Chan’s last actioner. The actor, way past-his-prime, had expressed a desire to do more meaningful films henceforth. Well, one hopes he sticks to that promise. As for the film, it has its ‘caricaturized’ moments which will make you guffaw at one or two points, but the longish two-hour duration will definitely tire you. Besides Jackie Chan, none of the actors really leave any sort of impact. The story, or the lack of it, also fails to impress. Another major flaw in the film is that large portions are entirely in Mandarin or French. A good part of the film is in English, but there are easily 4-5 long dialogues played out in foreign languages. Such occurrences (this should be noted by distributors who bring foreign films to Indian shores) tend to waive the viewer’s attention away from the on-screen happenings. It should be ensured that if the scenes cannot be dubbed, there should be subtitles at least. Or, don’t bring the film to India at all. This film, ‘CZ12’ or ‘Chinese Zodiac’ can be given another alias, ‘Gibberish’!

A major disappointment! Jackie Chan fans from India will not understand most of the film, let alone enjoying it!

Shivom Oza

The Impossible (2013) Review by Shivom Oza – Watchable, Not ‘Moving’ Enough!

2.5/5 Stars

‘The Impossible’ is an English-language Spanish film, based on the real-life account of Maria and Henry Belon and their children, who were separated and ravaged by the catastrophic Indian Ocean tsunami in ’04.  

The film has its ‘touchy, tear-jerker’ moments, but, overall, it fails to make an impact. The film is watchable, but it won’t stay with you. Credit to the makers for touching upon the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, a disaster that has not been captured on celluloid as yet!

Maria Belon (Naomi Watts), her husband Henry Belon (Ewan McGregor) and their kids Lucas, Thomas and Simon, are visiting Thailand for their Christmas vacation. The family plans to spend a few days at a picturesque tropical paradise resort. However, their holiday is cut short on the morning of December 26, 2004, by the tsunami. The family, while managing to stay alive, has been separated. While the eldest son Lucas is stranded with his severely-injured mother, Henry is lying unconscious in the middle of nowhere. The younger two children are tucked away in a safe location. How the separated family reunites among this chaotic atmosphere forms the crux of the film.

The film, directed by Juan Antonio Bayona and written by Sergio G. Sánchez (both of whom worked on the critically-acclaimed ‘The Orphanage’), manages to move you at several points. Whether it is the occurring of the tsunami, the washing away of hundreds of dead bodies, destruction of life and property, the sight of the vicious injuries and amputated bodies or the grief of the affected, the film manages to touch up on each of the mishaps that occur during any natural disaster of that magnitude. And these instances, backed with gut-wrenching visuals and dramatic background music, do move you a bit as well. However, in entirety, this two-hour-long film does not, and dare one say it, will not stay with the viewer. It keeps swaying between the Belon family’s misfortunes and the overall impact of the tsunami on all the victims, hence diluting the emotional impact. There are a couple of scenes towards the end, when the affected finally get some sort of closure, either through a reunion or an acceptance of reality, which are touching and may leave you a bit overwhelmed. However, as a real-life ‘disaster’ film, the writers could have done much more with the screenplay.

Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor deliver fine performances; however they did not click as husband and wife. The three kids, Lucas (Tom Holland), Thomas (Samuel Joslin) and Simon (Oaklee Pendergast), are absolutely terrific. Tom Holland, in particular, who plays the eldest son, Lucas, gives an outstanding performance. Essentially, every member of the family had to portray themselves as grief-struck, panicky and devastated, and Tom manages to bring out all those emotions with utmost ease.

Watchable, but not ‘moving’ enough!

Shivom Oza