The Terrorist

"Weak"

The Terrorist Review


Any interest for this beautifully photographed Indian film will surely be generated by the screen credit, "John Malkovich Presents." While he had little to do with the financing or actual production, he discovered The Terrorist during an international film festival and was so terribly moved that he pushed for a distribution deal with the minor league company Phaedra Cinema.

Malli (played by expressive newcomer Ayesha Dharkar) is a nineteen-year old rebel girl whose only home has been a guerilla camp nestled deep in the forests of an unnamed country. She has been asked to perform a crucial assassination that requires her to strap on a bomb and, when the moment arrives, blow up herself and her enemy. Sounds like a lean, mean novella in the Ernest Hemingway mold.

Patient viewers who respond to the visual poetry of Robert Bresson or Terrence Malick will find much to appreciate here. Of course, as soon as a review mentions the notion of visual poetry, some folks may start running for the hills. Indeed, this is understandable. The Terrorist is slow, meditative, and more than slightly pretentious.

There's not much in the way of dialogue or exposition. Much of the time, the camera simply follows Manni as she wanders through rivers and hills, teardrops and rain. The natural light sources create a strange pastiche of aqua colored landscapes. Often, shots will linger on close-ups of Dharkar, whose eyes burn with charisma. If that sounds boring to you, give this movie a wide berth.

Early scenes are taut with violence as Manni casually blows away a prisoner-of-war, then undergoes a grueling interrogation as her superiors wade through five teenage girls seeking the right candidate for the job. While director/cinematographer Santosh Sivan wields his camera with austere grace, these early scenes set up what amounts to a fairly generic story -- Bresson's interpretation of Mad Magazine's Spy Vs. Spy.

Bottom line: it's difficult not to get utterly bored, no matter how much of an art house cinephile you aspire to be. If the thought of Manni tromping through minefields with a battle-scarred little boy (Vishwas) sounds exciting, be forewarned that you're faced with endless shots of them walking, thinking, or staring off into nothingness. This particular subplot ends on a hollow, predictable note right after Manni says goodbye to this friend. If you've seen any films set in a war-torn country, it won't shock you.

There's a token love story, just as there is the inevitable guilt over her mission. If more attention had been paid to illuminating her inner thoughts or struggle, perhaps The Terrorist would amount to more than several reels of affecting pictures. We are presented with a motion picture with themes that would have been better articulated in the medium of a slide show or book.

If you're not into the whole art house thing, you may get some enjoyment out of putting on your Cultural Anthropologist cap and using The Terrorist as a point of entry into the portal of John Malkovich. To those with the desire to experience this elusive actor's taste in cinema, I offer this tiny hint: it's only a rental away.

Aka Malli.

Up jump the terrorists!



The Terrorist

Facts and Figures

Run time: 95 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 19th October 2000

Box Office Worldwide: $140 thousand

Budget: $24.6 thousand

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , A. Sreekar Prasad

Starring: as Malli, K. Krishna as Lover, as Lotus, as Leader

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Advertisement
Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Passengers Movie Review

Passengers Movie Review

Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels...

Neruda Movie Review

Neruda Movie Review

Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning...

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

Narrated by Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens), this documentary is one of the most gripping...

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.