Monday, October 22

Film: Brick Lane Click for more info

It goes without saying that if I hadn't been invited to this sneak preview by a friend I probably wouldn't have seen Brick Lane at all, ever. And I know how hypocritical I am being in this case by judging a book I've not yet read by its cover, but then we all have hunches for a reason. I feel giving the film adaptation a chance is a good enough compromise though.

And my hunch about Brick Lane did hold in part. Terribly cliched and telling a story that's been done to death for the last ten years or so, we are told the story about yet another deceptively weak Asian woman, married to her repressive husband at a young age, finally breaking free by having an affair and tasting real love and then realising what is actually important in life. Blah blah blah. There are no surprises in this film, but hey, at least her lover isn't a white guy this time.

So no, no points for an original plot then, but then there's more to a film than just its story. Tannishtha Chatterjee does a brilliant job as our protagonist, Nazneen, with the remaining casting and production values as a whole pretty top notch; the makers of the film generally do a good job in condensing a 500-page novel to just one and a half hours. There are also rare moments of pure genius and joy, each touching and engaging in their own right - especially when I found myself reflecting on them while walking up the actual real life Brick Lane thirty minutes after the film ended. Unfortunately there just isn't enough of these moments to carry the film through as a whole.

So it's not a flick I can unconditionally recommend unless you already know you want to see it - Brick Lane does exactly what it says on the tin. But I don't regret going to watch it, if only to see what the media fuss was all about. And with respect to that, I'd say that the criticism has been largely unjustified and so perhaps the only really interesting aspect of this film at all.