Tag Archives: Netflix Film

Film Review: Passing (2021)

I swear I never knew the word ‘Passing‘ has a racial meaning and that is unsurprisingly connected to American history. Passing is a term that is used for light-skinned Black Americans who can assimilate into the White majority or in other words, they are accepted or perceived as ‘White’.

This film is based on Nella Larsen‘s 1929 novel ‘Passing‘ about two light-skinned Black American friends who meet each other after a long time in the Harlem neighborhood of New York in the 1920s. Irene (Tessa Thompson) is married to a Black doctor while her friend Clare (Ruth Negga) has passed as ‘White’ and is married to a wealthy white man John (Alexander Skarsgård) who ranks and regards Black people low. Clare rediscovers the truthfulness of life in Irene and tries to gather more with her friend until she ‘pass’ out.

The film is slow-burn but the emotional application is more burning on Clare’s side. The revelation and denial are shocking as it looks disturbing when Clare agrees with John that she is white. Although it is dramatic, the story is executed in the right direction so that the audience gets to feel how difficult it was for a Black to be accepted in a society most of the Whites more than a hundred years ago.

Passing is a technical brilliance with a delicate sense of crafting of the screenplay and direction. The subject was given its piece of thoughtful tribute to that generation who were divided in color concentration. Thompson and Negga were brilliant, especially the latter made us feel heartbroken with her remarkable body language. I am surprised Passing got not a single Oscar nomination. At least Negga deserved the nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Ratings: 7.5/10

Film Review: Dhamaka (2021)

TV news anchor Arjun Pathak gets his biggest break when he interviews a terrorist who has just tried to blow a bridge alarming the national security sensing a high-level terror attack. With time, catching the terrorist becomes complicated due to his demands and Pathak struggles to find the solution to end this madness.
Dhamaka is the official remake of the South Korean film, The Terror Live. Directed by Ram Madhvani who made Neerja. There is no doubt that just like Neerja, Dhamaka is another top-class nerve-building intensity and the first half is the clear proof. The film lifts up the attention in a few minutes at the start and successfully attracts the audience and builds curiosity.
Dhamaka offers a few scenes that have been shot with careful direction like the entire build-up of Arjun struggling to recover after he vomited. Or another scene of giving a hope of possible reunion that ends up with a tragedy when the bridge collapses.
Technical excellence? Impressive sound design throughout the film and compelling screenplay and direction in the first half. Amruta Subhash had an impressive supporting role and Mrunal Thakur is one of the new talents who are serious about the profession and trying to make the name. This has to be Karthik Aaryan‘s best performance to date and maybe one of the best leading performances of the year. His expressional timing and behavioral attitude were sharp and handled with delicacy.
But handling the continuity of such a potential plot towards the last phase lowed the anticipation. A well-settled first 40 minutes into the film held a lot of promises but numerous plotholes raised the eyebrows.

SPOILERS ALERT!!!

One major problem is the dramatization of a typical newsroom trying to break a news on air. The seriousness and hullabaloo of the room get an odd feeling about the authenticity over covering a national outcry of terrorism. If the terrorist is so prepared to blow the proportions of the building, how come he believes in a theory that a minister can come to the show to apologize when he could have asked for forgiveness from any platform. If he was eventually hiding in the building, how come the anti-corruption unit did not spot out and took so long to trace out? The film shows that the call on the phone was coming from the IT room. How come no one noticed that?
When Arjun depicted that his earphone had the bomb, the police began to solve the mystery of who would fix that in his ear. I don’t understand how come no one in the newsroom identified the possibility. This is their daily routine and they all know each other who is assigned what work. What politician doesn’t cooperate with such sensitive issues on air and put the lives of many at-risk after suggesting that he must not enrage him? A journalist died in the bridge collapse and there were no injuries when the body was found. Really?
Yes, the film successfully shows the reality behind the news media politics and all the black efforts that are made to dramatize/sensationalize the events. But Dhamaka will be remembered for Karthik’s performance who looked like the captain of the sinking ship. If the efforts were made in dramatizing more compelling writing on the situational tense and newsroom drama, this may have been one of the best films of the year.
Ratings: 6.5/10