Earlier this year, a new Malay movie played. It wasn't about petty love triangles, haunted houses or MTV mermaids. Three hurrahs for hope! From past movies such as Gangster, Castello and KL Menjerit, we know director Bade Azmi is obsessed with dark elements of social disintegration. However works such as Syaitan and now Maut hint towards a fascination with the supernatural as well, a sort of ponderin on religious anxieties. Kudos to Bade for keepin up! A throwback to almost 50 years ago in the Jamil Sulong's black-and-white Isi Neraka, this Maut studies Man and the afterlife through a three-part story punctuated by months of the Moslem calendar. Chroniclin the twisted destinies of a stranger on a bus, a sinful air stewardess and an angry youth obsessed with gothic black metal, Maut plays judge, jury and executioner; deliverin a compellin story beyond today's industry norms. Well, that's how they sold it anyway.
|Que Haidar. Euww.|
In all three vignettes, the element of death is obvious but the strange character arcs leave the audience no chance to emphatise with them. Maybe the director intended to neglect this aspect to further stress the malang tidak berbau theme.
When we learned that the original title was the much more intriguin Malaikat Maut, one can't help but wonder just how far we've come in terms of creative license vis-à-vis the Lembaga Penapisan Filem, the vanguard of our Malaysian moral fidelity. It's almost as if the compromise instantly changed the texture of the original film. What's wrong with the title and which one better describes the movie's content? The director's wish to create a fiction that's meaningful and true to its concept met many marketin problems, leadin us to believe that this finished product isn't the masterpiece he had in mind.
I can't remember if I cried:
An invasive disclaimer appears in the middle of a scene to lecture us on faith when we're busy watchin Sabrina Hassan bein chased by a CGI cobra. Is this the compromise reached just to satisfy the 'U' classification?
Watch out for:
Que Haidar. Really startin to rise heaps and bounds above what we know as local standards of talent. Even his face brings to mind memories of the late Sudirman. We also learn that Fouziah Ghous can do natural. Meanwhile, newcomer Sabrina Hassan plays a lead role for the first time and is still findin maturity - she needs to be seen and not heard in this movie.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Bade Azmi may have hurled a Waja into the Sentul drain for action but Maut has lost some of the supernatural elements that we were promised as a drama. Then again, the plot structure and the religious elements are somethin you don't get to see every day. That oughtta knock some sense into those recent New Year sex party revellers who were arrested. ★★ 1/2