East Is East Movie Review

East is east and west is west, and never the twain shall meet... or at least that is the saying. In East is East, the twain have met and married in 1946. The East, a Pakistani by the name of George Khan (Om Puri) came to England searching for work and met Ella (Linda Bassett). 25 years later, we watch as the Eastern influences of George's patriarchal dictatorship clash with the Western ideals that surround the family.

This sounds like a BBC Kitchen Sink Drama of the week or an early Mike Leigh TV-movie (in Leigh's pre-Naked days), and indeed would end up being just that if it weren't for the fact that East is East is delightfully funny. As the tragedy of a family being torn apart by Muslim upbringing clashing with Christian ideals, East is East journeys further into the realm of absolute absurdity.

This clash starts when George wishes his son Nazir (Ian Aspinsall) to marry a woman he has never met. He gives him a robe and a watch with his name in Arabic on it, expecting this to compensate for the loss, and when Nazir flees from the altar, George disowns him.

Not having realized what we do from the get go (that, in our Western perspective, arranged marriages really suck eggs), George betroths two more of his sons to girls that make Martha Stewart look beautiful. He tells his wife late at night, and one son accidentally overhears this, and the family disintegrates from there.

The main problem with East is East is that it cannot decide whether to be a comedy or a serious film. Almost constantly, it flip-flops between serious moments that maek you groan at how melodramatic they are and not-so-serious moments that allow you to laugh at the absurdity of a situation that is not absurd in the slightest. Rather than picking a particular side to go with, director Damien O'Donnell chooses to attempt to take both the high road and the low road, and ends up going nowhere.

In the end, East is East is much more comic that dramatic, if only because Damien O'Donnell and writer Ayu Khan-Din conspire to turn out a movie that is jam packed with ineffectual drama. To a culture such as either the American or the British, which has been saturated with how being Protestant is so much better than being Muslim (and who says that films don't display a religious preference), East is East is just the same old shtick with a few new jokes.

Hey, babies.

Cast & Crew

Director : Damien O'Donnell

Producer :

Comments

East Is East Rating

" OK "

Rating: R, 1999

Advertisement

More Om Puri

The Hundred-Foot Journey Movie Review

A relentlessly smiley-glowy tone threatens to undo this film at every turn, but it's just about rescued by a spiky script and the adept cast....

Oprah Winfrey And Steven Spielberg Pose Together At 'The Hundred-Foot Journey' NY Premiere - Part 1

The cast and crew of restaurant drama 'The Hundred-Foot Journey' were seen arriving at the New York premiere held at the Ziegfeld Theater. Among them...

The Hundred Foot Journey Trailer

Talking about upcoming restaurent drama 'The Hundred Foot Journey', producers Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, director Lasse Hallstrom and star Helen Mirren reveal their thoughts...

The Hundred Foot Journey Trailer

The Hundred Foot Journey is a drama directed by Lasse Hallström (Dear John/Salmon Fishing in the Yemen) and written by Steven Knight.Based on the novel...

Advertisement

The Reluctant Fundamentalist Movie Review

A terrific story is compromised by the demands of commercial filmmaking, adding action-thriller scenes to what should be an introspective drama while distractingly beefing up...

Chakravyuh Movie Review

A muscular tone and non-stop action draw us into this Bollywood thriller, which then surprises us as it explores some complex themes about ethics and...

Life Goes On Trailer

When Sanjay's wife, Manju, suddenly dies, his life is thrown into dismay; but through their loss the Londoner finds himself rekindling relationships with his three...

West Is West Trailer

It's 1976 and with a lot of determination George and Ella Khan have managed to keep their family together. All but one of their seven...

Advertisement