Last Tuesday, I was privileged enough to be given the opportunity to watch a new movie called “Pulang” (Coming Home), directed by the amazing Kabir Bhatia based on a true personal story shared by Primework Studios’ CEO, Ahmad Izham Omar. It is a story about his grandfather who left his grandmother and father to sail, see the world, get more fortune so he can come home and provide a better life for his family but in the end, he never came back.
I think people have soft spots for real/true stories that we don’t really have much comments on the story itself as it is a personal journey by someone. I will try not to give any spoilers because it’s one of those movies I really want people to watch.
Kabir Bhatia is one of the renowned directors in Malaysia. I remember being invited to do a blogger’s screening for one of his earlier movies – “Cinta” back in 2006. Having Kabir Bhatia on board to direct and visualise Ahmad Izham’s story was a great choice – and knowing Ahmad Izham from his unique eye for talent, quality and standard, I’m sure he won’t settle for anything less than what the incredible Kabir Bhatia could bring to life on screen. So we are already assured that it would be a stunning movie.
But I was more blown by the visually stunning shots done by the Director of Photography/Cinematographer, a new name I have yet to see as an audience (or maybe I haven’t been paying that much attention) – Zambree Haras. The movie is beautifully shot so it create an ambiance that is close to Lovely Bones and The Big Fish kind of feeling.
I am really trying my best to reserve my comments on the acting. The only spot on acting was Erwin Dawson’s being Ahmad. (I’ve deleted many sentences for this part of the review, haha).
I wish it has a better or heavier percentage in just one genre. Right now it looks a bit 50/50 – 50% action and 50% drama. However, we all like a lot of elements in a movie so we can always be distracted to something else when something else doesn’t catch our attention.
My other comment is that I wonder if there are different types of make-up artists in the Malaysian film industry – like one for really transforming someone into a different age and one just to make up a character to look nice on set. Maybe it’s time for our make-up artists to consider really exploring expertise in these areas – transforming characters.
It’s a story with many angles of development, this movie in particular focused on narration by the main character, Che Thom, wife of Othman, another character who also narrated it from his story and the grandson, Ahmad who narrated on his journey to fulfill his grandmother’s last wishes and put the pieces of the story together to find closure for everyone. I wish we could also see Omar’s story, the son who was left behind and how he grew up having an absent father as his ultimate role model and his life with the mother, waiting for his father to return back home.
I am very glad I get to watch this movie and have discussions about it afterwards. My boss, Ngai Yuen who watched the movie too told me, if we’re having such a discussion about this film, it means that it’s a film good enough and worthy enough for a discussion. We need to bring back intellectual discussions to the film industry, not fluffy media questions like “What did you do to cry for this scene?” or “Was it good working for this director?”. I rather ask “What would we do differently?” because that shows another person’s ability to adapt the story and the story’s potential to be presented in a variety of ways.
Pulang the movie opens today, 26th July 2018 in cinema nationwide. My mom already asked me to bring her to watch this movie. So let’s all bring our loved ones to watch it.
Hopefully we have more people talking about movies, constructively.