I really gotta pace myself when it comes to local films. Since there's two of them released simultaneously for Raya this year, I need to make sure there are some half-decent movies to watch before, between, and after them - since I fully expect them to be less than half-decent. And can you blame me? It's bad enough having to sit through one of them; watching two in a row can put me off movies for good. So here's the year's second big holiday release - and judging from the audience count, it looks like this one's beating Momok the Movie at the box-office.
Tapi dua-dua sama macam sampah.
Notti (Fara Fauzana) is a jin, and a pretty lousy one; whereas all her kind are devoted to mischief and evil, she's blessed with empathy and a good heart. Thus a court of her jin peers send her to Earth on a mission to perform as many heinous deeds as possible. Aided by her "lawyer" Jinbara (Cat Farish), she takes over the bodies of three people, one after the other - a teenage girl, a gangster's moll, and a defense attorney. In the process, she meets Zulu (Sazzy Falak) the rebellious goth punk girl, Bobby (Adam Corrie Lee) the gangland boss, Hisham (Aziz M. Osman) the rich sleazebag, and dashing Ajiz (Mawi) with whom she falls in love.
It's hard to write reviews for shitty Malay movies. Not just because there's only so many synonyms for "shitty", but also because it's so tempting to just tar them all with the same brush. Which is unfair, even to an appallingly bad movie like Jin Notti. What sucks about it aren't the same things that suck about Momok the Movie, which aren't the same reasons why Skrip 7707 or Syurga Cinta or Bohsia suck. So I actually need to think hard about what I watched, and highlight exactly where the movie went wrong; in other words, I need to do my job as a film critic. Even though I'd much, much rather forget about this cinematic abomination as much as possible without controlled substances.
Three actors emerge with their dignity intact. One is Sazzy Falak, who has horrible dialogue - and later in the film, seems pretty unperturbed about the fact that she was raped - but at least appears to be taking the role seriously. Aziz M. Osman also plays a convincing sleazebag. And then there's the one-man marketing machine known as Mawi, who actually has some decent screen presence. Even when Azhari puts him in a godawful fight scene and tells him to do a bad kungfu impression ("Buat muka 'fierce!'"), you get the impression that he could do well with a good script and a director with a brain. As for the rest - halfway through I wanted to strangle Cat Farish. And Fara Fauzana should stick to her radio announcer day job.
The plot had potential, actually. It could've been a morality play in which the innocent Notti is tempted by greed and lust and the desire to be accepted by her own kind, but redeems herself out of her love for Ajiz and her friendship with Zulu. But Notti is just an idiot from start to finish; she hasn't a clue how to act evil, her motivations are murky, none of her relationships are developed, and whatever good deeds she does are only because the script says so. And it's an utterly moronic script. The courtroom scenes in which lawyer-Notti defends Hisham are just head-hurtingly stupid.
I rarely mention the cinematography, but here I just can't overlook how bad it is. In so many shots, the picture is noticeably fuzzy; I don't know if it's bad lighting or bad cine transfer, but it is seriously bad. It's bad enough to even make Bohsia and Syurga Cinta look good - at least those two had the initiative to shoot on 35mm film. Setem looked fine on digital video, but directors like Azhari use it as an excuse to half-ass their shoots. And the music was so frickin' intrusive, it was virtually yelling at us how funny every scene was supposed to be. Considering how little humour the movie actually had, Azhari probably thought it necessary. ("I rasa, scene ni, Fara tak cukup buat bodoh lah. Bubuh muzik kelakar, bagi kuat sikit.")
If Momok the Movie was an insult to Islam, both these movies being released for Raya is a goddamn desecration. What is it with the Malaysian film industry?? Why is almost every movie so dreadful? It's not that we don't have the resources; it's not even that we don't have the onscreen talent. It's that the folks behind the cameras are such talentless, lazy, mouth-breathing hacks. Malaysian audiences deserve better. Malay audiences deserve better than this trash.
NEXT REVIEW: A Perfect Getaway
Anticipation level: please be good