Kandahar

"Weak"

Kandahar Review


The timely and Taliban-topical Iranian import "Kandahar" could have been an absorbing, penetrating and undiluted portrait of frightful oppression in pre-Sept. 11 Afghanistan. But it's woefully subverted by pretentious directing, unmistakably amateur performances and an ending so vague it erases any power the picture might have had and replaces it with the question, "What the heck just happened?"

Written and directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf ("The Silence," "A Moment of Innocence"), the story follows an Afghan-Canadian journalist (Niloufar Pazira) smuggling herself into her native land in an attempt to rescue a suicidal sister who can no longer bear her smothered, browbeaten existence under the nation's extremist regime. It's also based loosely on a similar journey made by the lead actress -- a real Afghan-Canadian journalist who is clearly not an actress by trade.

The film offers strong symbolism and valuable insights into the Taliban's tyrannical culture of fear, in which song and dance are outlawed, men must sport long beard or be beaten, and women are not allowed even to leave their homes without a husband, father or brother as an escort. It's stocked with stark but stunning imagery -- from limbless peasants to almost surreal desert landscapes to Pazira's Westernized face peeking out from under her burqa, the head-to-toe covering women were forced to wear under the Taliban.

In fact, because of the current world climate and the heavy U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, "Kandahar" is worth seeing in spite of its shortcomings, simply because it offers a kind of cultural comprehension that just cannot be gleaned from the fleeting, polished, spoon-fed propaganda news feeds of CNN and network television.

But while its themes are remarkably relevant at this moment in time, the picture is otherwise an inarticulate and laborious effort, beset with clumsy narration, bad sound-syncing (even though it's subtitled), obtuse storytelling and a bloated sense of artistic and didactic self-importance.

It's the entirely unclear final scene, however, that really sends the movie into a tailspin. An ambiguity surrounding Pazira's fate is one thing, deliberate intangibility is another.



Kandahar

Facts and Figures

Run time: 81 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 24th October 2001

Distributed by: Mars Films

Production compaines: Pranavam Arts International

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Fresh: 85 Rotten: 11

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: Mohanlal as Major Mahadevan, as Lokanatha Sharma, Ganesh Venkatraman as Suryanatha Sharma, Sumalatha as Sumangaly, Ragini Dwivedi as Aishwarya

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.