terse & at large

GRRRRR. Arrrgh. And sometimes a travel log.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Bad End to Good Day

Went to watch Perth: The Geylang Massacre last night with N and EJL.

That's 105 minutes of my life and $7 I'll never get back.

Look, I'm all for supporting the local movie industry, but when the movie is a case of let's see how much Singaporabilia we can cram into those 105 mins, it's probably not something I'd appreciate. Chief among those: talkative taxi drivers, foul-mouthed Bengs and their mobile phones ringing in the field while they are on reservist training, a protagonist called Harry Lee (nudge, nudge. Yawn), coffee shop politics, every local girl in the movie seen with a foreign boyfriend, a maid hanging out the kitchen window to clean them and gambling as a national obsession.

Spoiler space...

What's good about the movie
Lim Kay Tong. Especially in the scene where he gets drunk. Good actor, good range of facial emotions.

What bad about the movie
Lim Kay Tong. Perhaps it's just the script, but I find it hard to believe a 52-year old man, who used to be in the Commandos, then in the merchant navy, who was the batch of NSmen from 1967, speaks an amazing English. Good actor, bad script, wrong for role.

What's wrong with the movie
Gawd, where do I begin?

Pacing. Pacing. Pacing.

Gratuitous violence and swearing.

Each scene is about a minute or two too long. I was cringing the whole time during the scene when he beats on his wife. In the stomach. For two minutes. OK, OK, so Irreversible had something like that too. So what?

Harry masturbates. LOUDLY. VERY LOUDLY.

Protagonist was in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge regime, or just before the takeover, and meets a girl. He sees a girl many years later in Singapore, working as an escort, from Vietnam. And in one scene he speaks Vietnamese to the girl. In most others, he's speaking English to her. Huh?

Speaking of the Khmer Rouge: in a flashback, a Khmer Rouge fighter drags the Cambodian girl away. Said fighter is wearing the scarf that's used by all good Khmer Rouge men and women. Scarf is blue.

Decking an officer during BCTC gets you a $1000 fine.

Swearing for the sake of swearing only. I mean, how long can someone keep up that kind of swearing even when they're pissed off?

Captions? Or subtitles? Can somebody decide? Can somebody proofread the damned things before the movie got released?

Stereotypes all. Caricatures even.

Ang-mohs get beat up in this movie. A lot. Woohoo. And I'm asking myself a lot too: What the fuck for? Perhaps it's because all of them are portrayed as assholes who come here and lord it over us?

Massacre in Geylang? Massacre? Massacre? Five. Count it. One hand. Five. I realise it's the Singapore thing to add dumbass subtitles to movie titles because otherwise people won't know what the fuck the movie is about, but a little sense goes a long way.

What's funny about the movie
At the coffee shop, Harry orders a teh and a Milo from the coffeeshop owner. Coffeeshop owner calls out to the back of the shop their orders. Then in the next scene, he's making the tea and Milo himself.

It's the first movie in a long time I wanted to walk out on. That is saying a lot.



  • At 2:34 PM, August 23, 2005, Blogger  said…

    Spoiler space...

    nice touch!

  • At 6:07 PM, August 23, 2005, Blogger annie said…

    the movie is originally a lot longer hence in the theater release version viewers may not quite get what is the big deal between the girl and harry.

    harry used to live in vietnam thus he was able to speak to the girl in vietnamese. that doesnt mean the girl cant speak english... so in social conversation (coffee table) he can converse in broken vietnamese to her whereas in the hotel (dead prostitute) it is prolly not a place to dig up the weird language just to speak for the sake of it.

  • At 4:08 AM, August 24, 2005, Blogger dindon said…

    Strange but it seems harder to convince me to watch a local movie as compared to a foreign movie ... ooops, most movies out there ARE foreign movies ...

  • At 10:39 PM, August 26, 2005, Blogger tbh said…

    What did you expect? Something good?

    That said, would you recommend it for a kid who seriously needs to understand his country better.


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