Provoked: A True Story

"Weak"

Provoked: A True Story Review


The beautiful Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai plays the victim of years of spousal abuse in Provoked: A True Story, based on a monumental U.K. court case that forever changed British laws on domestic violence. Even before watching a frame of the film, we glean that this is an important human story with major moral messages to be told. It's the kind of material that easily wins the hearts of audiences and Oscar voters alike. And yet, for all of its surface significance, the resulting on-screen effort feels largely meaningless and inconsequential.

While studying to become a lawyer, a young, traditionally minded Punjabi woman named Kiranjit (Rai) gets set up in an arranged marriage to Deepak Ahluwalia (Naveen Andrews). Deepak insists Kiranjit abandon her educational efforts so they can relocate to London. Staying true to cultural norms, Kiranjit willingly accommodates her husband's desires. Once in the big metropolis, things quickly change. Kiranjit becomes pregnant and Deepak devolves into a life of drinking, adultery, and spousal abuse.

For a decade, Kiranjit endures large doses of verbal, physical and sexual abuse at the hands of Deepak. Trapped by her old world values, Kiranjit is unable to seek the help she needs to end the cycle of violence. One night she snaps, deciding that the only way out of her horrific marriage is to set fire to her S.O.B.-of-a-husband while he sleeps. Kiranjit is arrested, convicted, and sent to a women's prison for a life sentence.

Most of Provoked transpires during Kiranjit's time in prison as she awaits the appeal of her sentence. While in lock-up, Kiranjit struggles with adapting to her new environment. She rarely speaks, and is teased by the other inmates. Kiranjit soon gains a cellmate, Veronica Scott (Miranda Richardson). Though they come from very different worlds, Kiranjit and Veronica find a common bond that provides the vehicle to help each other through their present situations. It's in these moments where Provoked shines the most. Unfortunately, these times are few and far between.

Though Provoked is based on real life events (in case you missed the title), the on-screen drama surrounding Kiranjit's imprisonment is so poorly constructed and executed, that the story never achieves the level of gravity that it should. Carl Austin and Rahila Gupta's adaptation of the autobiography to which the movie is based plays out like a campy made-for-TV movie that only scratches the surface of reality. Prison life looks easy, resembling nothing like what we know doing hard time is supposed to look like.

To tell the story of Kiranjit's abuse, director Jag Mundhra flashes back to half a dozen painful episodes of increasingly escalated violence over the ten year period. By the third example, it simply becomes too much. The beautiful Rai already makes for a sympathetic victim. In fact, she's too beautiful -- certainly not to be abused -- but she's never made to look like she's suffering. In the moments following her arrest, she's coifed perfectly -- hair and makeup done just right. Even after months in prison, she looks completely unaffected. Certainly a woman who believes she is wrongly imprisoned and out for justice would not look like she spent half the day at a salon.

With Provoked, there's just never the seriousness or grit you would expect from this kind of story. There's little fight to this film, and unfortunately, as a result, the most important message gets lost in the translation.

They will survive.



Provoked: A True Story

Facts and Figures

Run time: 113 mins

In Theaters: Friday 6th April 2007

Distributed by: Eros Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 29%
Fresh: 10 Rotten: 24

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Jag Mundhra

Producer: Sunanda Murali Manohar

Starring: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as Kiranjit Ahluwalia, as Veronica Scott, as Deepak Ahluwalia, as Radha Dalal, as Lord Edward Foster

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.