Filem yang menghempap andas keatas kepala anda ~ That Movie Blogger Fella

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Filem yang menghempap andas keatas kepala anda

Damping Malam
My rating:

I don't want to come across as having an unhealthy obsession over Ahmad Idham. It's just that the man has a virtual monopoly over the local film industry, what with practically every other Malay movie being directed by him. I still maintain that he's little more than a hack, but even a hack can get it right every now and then. He's done it once before, and as you can tell from the 2-½-star rating, he has now made another somewhat better film than I've come to expect from him. I don't think it's any coincidence that it's also the first time he's directed himself in a leading role.

But Ya Allah, skripnya. Skrip yang betul-betul menghela tapak tangan ke muka.

Wadi (Ahmad Idham), Lira (Amy Mastura) and 13-year-old Nur Aiza (Erynne Erynna) are a family plagued by ghostly hauntings. First it is Aiza who bears the brunt of them at her boarding school, causing no end of worry for her overprotective mother. Then spooky stuff starts to happen to the parents at their home, causing even an avowed skeptic like Wadi to look to his ustaz friend Bakri (Eizlan Yusof) for religious guidance. It soon becomes clear that they are being haunted by a "pendamping", a spirit summoned to be the family's guardian - and which has clearly turned malevolent. And it is Lira's creepy aunt Umi Siah (Azizah Mahzan), keeper of many a mysterious ancient family tradition, who seems to know a lot more than she's letting on - although she too seems utterly devoted to her grand-niece.

Taik Suci, siapa yang karang skrip ni?? Aku betul-betul tak faham bagaimana filem Melayu membahagikan kredit; "skrip" dikreditkan kepada the infamous Panel MIG, tapi "lakonlayar" diberi kepada Tuan Pengarah Ahmad Idham. (I'm beginning to suspect that what they call a "lakonlayar" is what the rest of the world calls a storyboard.) Yang membengangkan aku ialah aku tak tahu siapa yang bertanggungjawab ke atas apa. Aku nak tau nama si dia yang menulis semua dialog dalam filem ini, because oh maigod he's terrible. Dialog yang tersangat lurus dan jelas. Dialog yang sedia menerangkan segala yang berlaku dari segi jalan cerita mahupun emosi setiap watak. Dialog yang tak pernah disebut oleh manusia sebenar di dunia ini.

This is annoying la guys. Ini tanda penulis yang malas dan kurang mahir. Dialognya tiada nuansa, tiada kehalusan, tiada makna yang mendalam. I studied "makna tersurat" and "makna tersirat" in Form 5 Bahasa Melayu, but it appears these Panel MIG dudes only learned half of that. Korang ingat penonton kita ni tak cukup pintar untuk memahami makna tersirat? Sampai kau nak akhirkan cerita ini dengan sebuah syarahan? Serius giler I kid you not, the movie ends with a voice-over lecture exhorting "ingatlah wahai isteri-isteri yang sejati", turning the whole film into a kursus agama anjuran JAIS. Sayang sungguh, kerana up to that point, jalan ceritanya sebenarnya agak elok.

Yes, I mean it, the storyline actually works. There's a mystery to be unraveled, a plot twist or two, and some decent attempts at misdirection. Even the horror elements aren't half bad; this pendamping has a nasty habit of taking the form of other people, which is a somewhat fresh approach to delivering the creeps in Malay horror movies. (And then it falls back to the usual long-haired pasty-faced female hantu stuff, but hey, baby steps.) And Ahmad Idham finally shows some directorial flair, making use of shadows and odd camera angles to create a sense of unease. It's almost as if being an actor in this movie got him more emotionally involved than he usually is, and finally made him give a damn in directing it. Even his acting was pretty effective; his lines are as ripe as everyone else's, but he reads them quietly and understatedly, which is exactly the right way to deliver on-the-nose dialogue.

But the same can't be said for Azizah Mahzan and Amy Mastura. Azizah has a certain hammy charm that only veteran performers can pull off, and if she had better lines, she could've been pretty awesome. (She can also be awesomely awful, as she was in Cuti-Cuti Cinta.) But Amy was just unlikable from start to finish; she overacts every single scene, and all her line readings grate on the ear. I think she was just ill-served by the script, which again points to how important it is to have good dialogue. Tiga empat kali dia menjelaskan perwatakannya sebagai ibu yang terlalu melindung dan mengongkong anak; mungkinkah ini kerana setiap babak ditulis oleh penulis lain? Aduhai Panel MIG, tak habis-habis dosa kamu keatas dunia perfileman. Oh, and little Erynne Erynna can now join the ranks of our genuinely talented child performers. She's quite a natural in all her scenes, although I wish she had more to do than just look terrified half the time.

Aku bingung la dengan filem ni. Plotnya bagus, arahannya pun okey, tapi dialog gagal besar. And it ends with an ajaran that hits you with all the force of an anvil dropped on your head. Siapa punya angkara dan siapa punya jasa, aku tak tau. Kepada Tuan Pengarah Ahmad Idham, saya cadangkan supaya kurangkan sikit produktiviti anda. Pilihlah skrip yang benar-benar menyentuh perasaan anda, dan bikinlah ia dengan teliti dan berperasaan; baru saya akan berhenti menghentam anda, malah saya akan memberi pujian yang sewajarnya. (Kalau kau nak berlakon lagi pun okey jugak.) And as for the shadowy, mysterious, nameless cabal known as Panel Skrip MIG... aku akan perhatikan korang. Aku syak koranglah yang paling berpengaruh dalam kualiti pengeluaran kilang filem Metrowealth International Group ni - you're just never held accountable for it.

NEXT REVIEW: Season of the Witch
Expectations: well, it's sword-and-sorcery, innit? I like those


Nizam said...

I'm waiting patiently for your review of Khurafat :)

Nizam Zakaria

The Wan And Only said...

I heard he was given a lump sum figure (in the millions of ringgit) to make like 10 movies... that is why we've seen every other movie by him this past year...

Ejoi said...

Lupuskan khidmat Panel MIG dan sila ambil khidmat Man Of Action yang bertanggungjawab ke atas siri Ben 10 untuk filem-filem akan datang.