13th December 2012 (Day #5)
The weekend is upon us! I review 3 movies on Day 5 of the 2012 Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF).
Made by an Arab-American director, starring Arab-American actors and full of Arab-American colloquialisms, DETROIT UNLEADED is a comedy that limits its scope because of the limited audience it caters to. People who identify with the cultural-references and humour will enjoy this film. For others, it can either be a light-hearted insight into the Arab-American sub-culture, or they will be lost, looking for something to identify with. After Sami’s father is shot by robbers in his gas-station, Sami has to abandon his dream of going to California to study and takes up his father’s position — this time behind bullet-proof glass. The movie explores his budding romance with a friend’s cousin and his realization of what he really wants to do. The film, specifically its humour, will work well for the audience it caters to. For others, watch it if you want to experience a funny take on a different culture.
The biggest box-office success in South Korean history (as of 2012), THE THIEVES is a multi-starrer, big-budget heist movie that follows the tradition of Hollywood movies like OCEAN’S 11 and THE ITALIAN JOB, but with a good measure of action. The movie, mostly set in Macau, is about two teams of thieves, one Korean and another Chinese, who unite under Macau Park — the mastermind of the operation. Everyone has their own agendas, and it does not take long before they start crossing and double-crossing each other. THE THIEVES follows a commercial template; the movie moves at a fast pace, glamourizes its stars and provides for a good dose of humour to keep things light. At 135 minutes, the movie does feel long and the excitement gets exhausting. THE THIEVES is a movie to be enjoyed with a tub of popcorn on a weekend at the cinemas.
Director Anand Gandhi uses the philosophical concept that the movie is names after, SHIP OF THESEUS, and weaves the story of three people around it. The movie is an anthology — each of the three character’s story starts and finishes independently. The first story is about a young girl who is medically blind and yet loves photography. Next is an atheist monk who believes in the existence of a soul. The last story is about a man who likes his own small world, but must begin to acknowledge the wider world and its issues. The movie is multi-layered, taking a physical as well as a philosophical interpretation of the “Ship of Theseus” concept, which states: If the parts of a ship are replaced one-by-one, such that eventually none of the original parts of the ship remain, is it the same ship? SHIP OF THESEUS is very well-written, especially evident in scenes where the monk discusses his views and answers the questions of his cynical nephew. SHIP OF THESEUS is an excellent debut by the director, and just the right kind of movie to watch at a film festival.
Look out for another post that reviews another movie I watched today outside the festival. The movie is... THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY! :)