MOVIE REVIEW: SRI SIDDHARTHA GAUTAMA “”…” A MOCKERY OF BUDDHISM
Posted on March 12th, 2013
By The Angry Cinephile.
I don’t know why I keep going to see Sinhala films? Every time I do, I come out feeling like the last one was the WORST I ever saw,”¦ yet in my eternal optimism I inevitably go see the next one hoping for the positive, only to end up having my expectations shattered by something even worse than before!
I don’t even know where to begin with this ABORTION of a FILM?
Ok, so before getting to the horrendous directing and amateur cinematography complemented by CRAPTACULAR acting,”¦ lets begin with the story.
The first thing that alerted me to the fact that this was going to be a painful experience was that when I went to the concession stand to order my usual stock of Carlsberg beer and popcorn (to enhance my movie going experience ofcourse), the pious sycophantic management of the theatre had decided to ban the sale of alcohol for this so-called “ƒ”¹…”Buddhist’ film”¦ Meaning to say, that I would have to sit through all eye-gouging 120 minutes in a full state of sobriety!
I guess that the self-righteous producers of the film thought that their masterpiece was so holy that watching it would be the equivalent of a Religious Experience, and thus it deserved the respect of being a non-alcoholic event? Well sure”¦ in retrospect that Religious Experience turned out to be the equivalent of witnessing the activities of Sodom and Gomorrah, on a Friday night.
So onto the story,”¦ Well to be frank, there is no story; this so-called epic film is nothing more than an over-priced Tele-Drama, with extremely bad make up. Its a boring linear parochial narrative that has no build up of any scene, no plot points, no drama, and no excitement whatsoever. And what bad Tele-Drama is complete without being adequately complimented with comically bad fight scenes that would embarrass even a children’s school play audience? Rather than tell a story of the transformation of a mortal man into a God, it seems that Prince Siddartha throughout the film behaves as though he has already attained “ƒ”¹…”Buddhahood’ (yes, that’s a real word according to the Film). He prances around his tiny palace with a mostly deadpan expression doing all the good things that the Buddha would have done, instead of acting like the spoiled extravagant prince that history speaks of prior to his enlightenment. So this is not really a film about the transformation of Siddartha into the Buddha, but more about how Siddartha escapes his castle.
Now being that no Sinhala actor could have pulled off being Siddartha without garnering a chorus of giggles and gaffaws; the producers wisely managed to sucker some relatively unknown handsome Indian TV actor named Gajan Malik to play the main role,”¦ poor guy, I bet he must be biting his nails in anxiety, hoping and praying this film does not make it across the sea to India, as I’m not sure his acting career will survive if this ever gets attached to his name over there.
Now that being said, he was probably the best actor of the lot,”¦ the worst being Ranjan “ƒ”¹…”One Shot’ Ramanayake as King Suddhodana,”¦ Oh lord why???? If I wasn’t so cynical I would almost say they were satirizing the King’s role by casting “ƒ”¹…”One Shot’ Ladies-Man Ranjan to play Siddartha’s father. His performance was an exercise in disbelief and it was cringeworthy at best; and the Director managed to add insult to injury by depicting him age a full 30 years by growing a mustache – with no grey hairs!
The rest of the actors performances were up to the usual rubbish standard that one comes to expect from a Sinhala film, but no one else really stood out in a good way, or bad.
Now onto the production itself,”¦ I don’t normally comment on the soundtrack or score of a movie because its really hard for the composer to do a less than OK job of it,”¦ but I have to say, this one was an exceptional cacophony to my ears! Apart from it being just excessively loud and making you want to stab out your ear drums with a knife to make it stop, it was just inappropriately slathered across every scene. Every spoken word by this cast was gate-crashed by some sort of blood curdling instrumental sound effect that was loud enough to wake the dead. There was zero chance of me sleeping through this film, because the sound balancing was so badly done that even the voices in my head got drowned out!
The cinematography was outright lazy,”¦ Most camera shots were mid and extreme close ups of the actors heads. There was no camera shot that did anything to enhance any scene or the production value of this film”¦ but in the Cameraman’s defence, there was not much that could be done to enhance the film in the way of camera angles or creative shots,”¦ This so called “ƒ”¹…”Epic’ film had nothing epic about it”¦ There was not a single wide shot to establish a scene, nor show us the scale of where and when this story took place in history. The Kingdom of Kapilawatsu, as depicted in this film, was only a few ambiguous river shots, a few barren bush areas, and the mid shots of a small market place. Instead of wasting so much money on gaudy bad costumes, the Producer should have invested a fraction of that cost in a wide angle lens.
And finally, I don’t even know what to say about the Director of this utter cow-pat of a film, except these few words: PLEASE DON’T DIRECT ANOTHER MOVIE! You have made a mockery of Buddhism and have managed to turn its founder into a shaven-chested, stoic fag. Shame on you! I would not be surprised if a significant percentage of the Sri Lankan Buddhist audience unfortunate enough to view this visual monstrosity would end up being turned off Buddhism altogether.
Your only solace is that Keanu Reeves’ horrendous performance in “ƒ”¹…”Little Buddha’ still holds the crown for the WORST Siddartha Film ever.
Siddartha Movie Trailer: