Review - Frozen: is well, frozen

wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?)
quick review:

The oh-so-tardy pace kills the beauty created by some exquisite and unique cinematography. And the punch in the climax tries way too hard to impress and fails miserably.

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It doesn't take too long to come to terms with the fact that you are going to be watching a black and white film for the next two hours. It is different and thus it engages. The lack of color accentuates the Himalayan ruggedness. It takes only a few minutes to wipe off all romanticized images created by earlier movies shot in this terrain. The painful struggle of day-to-day life needs no words.

And yet, words you will crave to hear by the end of the two hours - so long are some of the pauses and so dull are some of the voiceovers. You don’t miss the color, even though some parts actually look like the frames have been bleached. And early on, the silences seem very artistic, and your time is fruitfully utilized in soaking in the scenery. But as the minutes pass by, the view gets monotonous and the silence becomes snooze-time.

In the effort to get the mood right, the story-telling suffers. The premise is actually mundane - troubled hard-worker's goods won't sell because mechanization is taking over, his loans become an excuse for the money-lenders to cast their lecherous eyes on his beautiful daughter. But the character quirks in the beginning make them look like they'll grow interesting. The daughter does look troubled and a tad abnormal, playful - maybe a bit too childish for her age. But, by the time you realize why she seems off, you've lost interest in the film, let alone its characters.

At the end, you wonder what actually was the intention of the film. Was it to make us aware of the hardships of the inhabitants of the Leh-Ladakh region - an area which we think of as beautiful, but brutality seeps deep within? Was it to narrate the story of Lasya - a teenager who is disturbed and the world around her seems treacherous? But the pathos doesn't come through. You don't really feel for her, her family or the place they call home.

The supposed punch in the end is too sudden and forcefully abnormal and "artistic" to remain of any interest. The lack of interesting events in the last hour or so give you no motivation to decipher or interpret the possibilities of metaphors and the likes. It still doesn't take away from the fact that something different was tried. So what if the timing was off.

Danny Denzongpa as the hard-working yet unsuccessful jam seller and Gauri who plays his daughter Lasya both do their best to intrigue. I don't remember Danny in such an intense role earlier. And Gauri is both beautiful and talented. I'd be inclined to say her beauty is more forthcoming because of the monochrome. But all these still do not make for a compelling or captivating watch.

Sure, it's noteworthy that the typical emotional triggers are missing and thus the cinematic experience is refreshing. But unfortunately a lot of the snores also contribute to making you feel fresh as the end credits roll.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: None.
  • Language: Clean. But, there is a hint of using Karma's daughter Lasya sexually to pay of his debts.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None.
  • Concept: Hardships of life in the Ladakhi region.
  • General Look and Feel: Grim and dark. Black and white.

Frozen - Trailer

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