Monday, September 9, 2013

Double Movie Weekend - The Conjuring and Ilo Ilo

I wanted to watch Ilo Ilo for one and solely one reason: The amount of attention it was getting. The first time I knew of the existence of the movie was when I caught a glimpse of its poster on a cinema wall and I didn't took much notice of it. Gradually more people were talking about the movie though and before long, I heard how some were calling it the best movie of this season, how it won at the Cannes Film Festival and how everyone watch it.

Being a movie fan myself, of course I was hyped up. So I called everyone I knew and asked them to whether if they want to watch the movie with me. I even considered watching it on my own. But I have to thank my dear buddy Xian You for taking the time out to accompany me for the movie.




Even after discounting the fact that a noisy uncle sat beside me and gave pretty rude comments about the boy throughout the movie, Ilo Ilo didn't give me the impact that I had hoped for. Maybe it's the overly high expectation that I brought with me to watch the movie but somehow I just felt that something is missing. For starters it might be the lack of soundtrack throughout the movie itself.

Now I'm not saying that the movie is not nice itself. To be honest, I think that Ilo Ilo's strongest strength lies in its simplicity and normalcy, with nothing but raw and great acting to carry the movie until the very end. Despite leaving me feeling awkward at times, the acting brought forward by the four casts was stellar and throughout the movie, I could relate to the struggles of all the characters itself and empathize with them, something that I rarely feel when watching movies. It felt that I was in their shoes somewhat, and it made me wonder how would I have acted as well if I'm caught in the situation.

But of course, I went to watch the movie hoping to be entertained, which was why I got a little bit disappointed in the first place, because Ilo Ilo is more like a critique of society than a commercial movie. The themes brought forward by the movie itself, the struggles of a foreign national working in a new environment, the dynamics of the family we have nowadays consisting of a working mum and dad and the struggles with finance was one I can relate well to though.

If anything, Ilo Ilo was more of an artistic piece than one tailored to the masses. I personally enjoyed the deep parts of the movie but I somehow hoped for more of a brainless entertainment product than a deep movie. However, if you're someone who enjoys thinking about society, Ilo Ilo is a definite must watch. And as a side note, I loved how the movie managed to reproduce an authentic 90s feel in the film. Whereas the Girl in Pinafore had a airport with sliding doors back in 1992, Ilo Ilo managed to recreate a flight schedule board with flipping cards. Which might explain the accolades given to the film itself.

****

When conjuring first came out, I swore to myself that I would not watch it, no matter how many good reviews it got. But somehow the stars aligned and I ended up watching the movie with a bunch of crazy new people (who are super duperly awesome) that I've just started having out with, thanks to my housemate.




Despite me closing the eyes for the majority of the film and despite the Conjuring being only the second horror ghost movie film I have watched in my entire life, I would say that the movie is entirely scary itself. While it had its moments with the doors opening, the sudden ghost hanging, the hand clapping and the suspense, I felt that the strength of the movie lies in the development of the story itself between the two families in the movie.

I think the main aim of the movie was not to scare the audience (they have Thai movies for that) but rather to let the audience feel the struggles faced by the families as they try to conquer the effects of demonic intrusion in their lives and the movie did it pretty well. I loved how it focused on the technical parts of a possession as well, for example the steps of Infestation, Oppression and Possession, which added to the feeling of legitimacy of the film as well. 

The film felt sort of documentary like in certain ways if you ask me, reminding me of the Haunted series on Discovery Channel that tries to make you scared but yet bringing you deeper into the world of exorcism at the same time, which was quite interesting, for example how Ed described that knocks by spirits are always in threes as a mockery to the trinity. So if you ask me, the scary level of the movie itself is around 5/10 but the production value of the movie is about 6.5/10.

Of course, that doesn't mean I'm not scared though. My tolerance level for horror was never high in the first place. If I'm ever gonna be stuck in a ghost/exorcism movie, I might be the first one who bail. But anyways, for a ghost movie that truly focuses on scaring you, try a Thai ghost movie where everyone dies. That's creepy.


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