MOVIE REVIEW | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 05, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015

MOVIE REVIEW

MOVIE REVIEW

Shongram

SHONGRAM

Director: Munsur Ali
Writer: Munsur Ali
Casts: Amaan Reza, Dilruba Yasmin Ruhee, Arman Parvez Murad, Anupam Kher, Asia Argento
Strength: The final message
Weakness: Melodramatic acting       
Showbiz Rating: 2/5
Plot: A daring English reporter speaks to an old freedom fighter, who reveals his past and involvement during the 1971 Bangladesh liberation struggle. Shongram is a romantic drama set during the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war.
Review: The movie starts off with a great promise of an epic Liberation war movie. Showing rare footages of 1971 will give goosebumps to any viewer. The story slowly moves to more personal level, where we get introduced to the leading characters – we begin to see the innocence of rural Bangladesh. As the movie progresses, we are confronted with brutal scenes of war. Leading character Karim, played by Amaan Reza, did well to make the audience to sympathize for the character. Asha, the supporting role, played by Ruhee had a few shortcomings. Her character missed a more time to have the viewer's sympathy. The antagonist, Major Iftekhar, played by Parvez Murad had his moments, but it often too melodramatic. Major Iftekhar's character had great potential for the international audience to understand the mindset of Pakistani junta. But it felt Major Iftekhar was forcefully portrait as a comical monster. The action scenes needed much more zeal. The director could've made the battle scenes more realistic, which at times felt like a TV drama. The final message that Munsur Ali wanted convey to the international audience was successfully delivered through the last scene – which is that the genocide of 1971 is probably one of the most ignored events in recent times.   

Reviewed by Zia Nazmul Islam

***

BLUE JASMINE

BLUE JASMINE

Director: Woody Allen
Writer: Woody Allen
Casts: Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins, Alec Baldwin, Peter Sarsgaard
Runtime: 98 min
Strength: Acting
Weakness: Part of story is untold
Showbiz Rating: 4.5/5

Plot: A New York socialite deeply troubled and in denial, arrives in San Francisco to impose upon her sister. She looks a million, but isn't bringing money, peace, or love.
Review: Subtleness is the power of Woody Allen's movies. Blue Jasmine is another Woody Allen's classy piece where subtlety and dark humor is blended into a storyline where one can't but help sympathize with each and every character. Cate Blanchett took the character of Jasmine and gave it everything it needed. Same could be said about Sally Hawkins, who plays Jasmine's sister. Both were good enough win Oscars this year, but only Cate did. From very first scene, we start enjoying Cate's acting – we realize that she is a dysfunctional character. She could've carried the movie all by herself. But Sally Hawkins comes into the scene and brings a very contrasting character. Like comfortable swing, we move back and forth past and real time. Each moment of the film, we feel connected to the sisters. The roles male characters in the movie play may feel like it is written by a feminist. Taking a closer look, not all the males are sleazy – they are of mixed textures. The movie would've taken all five points in my book but the storyline needed more to tell about the background of Jasmin's marriage.

Reviewed by Zia Nazmul Islam

***

BALLAD OF A SOLDIER

BALLAD OF A SOLDIER (1959)

Country: Soviet Union
Director: Grigoriy Chukhray
Writers: Grigoriy Chukhray, Valentin Ezhov
Cast: Vladimir Ivashov, Zhanna Prokhorenko, Antonina Maksimova
Runtime: 88 min
Strength: Story and execution
Weakness: Supporting character is not well developed
Showbiz Rating: 4.5/5
Plot: During World War II, a 19 year old soldier Alyosha gets a reward for a heroic act at the front. He asks for a few days leave to visit his mother. On the train eastwards he meets Shura who is on her way to her aunt. In those few days of traveling together, they fall in love.
Review: It is not only a great movie only because it is one of the few non-communist propaganda movies made in Soviet Union, but is also great because of the touching storyline. The presentation of the story takes us on a journey to an emotional rollercoaster. Strangely enough, the destination and the aftermath of the journey of are revealed to us at the very first scene. Still, we take the long Trans-Siberian rail journey with a soldier – someone we hardly know. One scene after another, our emotions grow for this soldier. Then arrives Shura – a naïve young woman who happens to stumble into our soldier's path. Tagging Shura, the journey becomes more enticing, and we find another human being to care for. Not giving away any spoilers – I can assure that there are at least three extremely strong and poetic scenes that will give a sore throat to any viewer. Distributed under Mosfilms, Ballad of a Soldier can be found in any good DVD store or on the internet.

Reviewed by Zia Nazmul Islam

 

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