‘Black Swan’ director Darren Aronofsky’s latest blockbuster ‘Noah’ is an ambitious mythological epic which centers on man’s folly. Noah is the last remaining person of the ancestral line extended down from Seth. Noah and his family dwell under the radar in volcano-scorched outskirts until Noah starts having visions of blood seeping from the bedrock and the waters of the earth reaching to meet the sky. Intimidated by these omens, the group venture on to meet Noah’s grandfather, Methuselah, to know the meaning of the premonition. However he can only offer cold comfort since it is revealed that The Creator, discouraged by the barbarity of humans, intends to cleanse the earth with mighty floods.
A two fold character
The Creator wants Noah to build an ark which can hold two of every animal. This he does with the help of some fallen angles named the Watchers.
Noah’s struggle with the belief that the human race is meant to die out with his youngest son even after he discovers that his formerly barren daughter-in-law is now miraculously pregnant is vividly captured by Aronofsky. Noah’s battle with his conscience, whether to heed The Creator’s words or to let his grandchild live, is one of the highlights of the movie which keeps the audience at the edge of their seat in anticipation.
As Aronofsky reveals Noah is a two fold character. At the beginning he is seen as the saviour who unites and releases fallen angels from their misery. He saves thousands of animals from becoming extinct and builds an ark to keep them and his family safe from the storms. Yet he is also an accomplice in the implacable Creator’s plans to wipe out mankind from the planet. He lets an innocent young girl who has besotted his son, Ham, die brutally by being trampled by a frenzy crowd making their way towards the ark. He turns deaf ears upon the screams of multitudes that cling at straw to survive from the floods. Later he terrorizes his own family in typical patriarchal tyranny noting that even Seth’s line should die out with them.
More suitable for grown up
Another interesting point is when Noah relates the fable of creation. Aronofsky employs aeons-spanning time-lapse to present an eye-catching vision of Darwinian evolution where animals evolve into man and Adam and Eve are formed. Such imagery is created in the form of fallen angles that turn into a band of massive, lumbering, stone-encased giants known as the Watchers.
here are many moments of wonder and creative spectacle in the tale. The manner in which the beasts enter the ark is a sight to behold. However there are a few moments which audiences might find too gruesome to watch. One such instance is Noah witnessing a vision of a lamb being torn apart by a mob. Thus ‘Noah’ is more suitable for grown up audiences because the younger crowd will find it difficult to grasp the philosophy behind the production.
This is echoed towards the end when Ila tells Noah of why The Creator has chose him for the task. It is not merely because, as Noah himself puts it, “He knew I would complete the task, nothing more” but because he was given a choice. As Ila puts it “You chose mercy. You chose love.”
Not just for Christians
Aronofsky also places the flood as the centerpiece of the tale rather than its climax. Fortunately it has worked wonders on the movie. The movie has a firm grasp of mood and atmosphere. The end of mankind is no laughing matter. It is something to be taken seriously and considered even in the modern setup.
Russell Crowe does a magnificent job in portraying the protagonist who is the hero as well as antagonist of the tale at times. The rest of the cast from the fiery Emma Watson to the humble Jennifer Connelly add depth to their characters. They are the backbone behind the success of the film. Anthony Hopkins does well as the berry-obsessed grandfather. Ray Winstone however is less effective as the ferocious Tubal Cain.
Movies based on biblical tales will always spawn controversy. Many critics have accused Aronofsky for not sticking to the source material. His film may not be perfect but the fact that he has done his homework well is apparent. It is timely film which sheds light on conflicts of an ancient world which is relevant even today. ‘Noah’ is not just for Christians but should be watched by people sans religious, ethnic or cast barriers.
‘Noah’ is screening at Majestic Cineplex’s Platinum cinema.
Despite Jack Clayton’s Robert Redford and Mia Farrow starrer in 1974, no movie has been able to capture wholly successfully the vivid pose version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 tale ‘The Great Gatsby.’ The same can be said of Baz Luhrmann’s cinematic venture of the same name.
Obsession and tragedy
The 2013 remake of the movie unveils the tale of the young millionaire Jay Gatsby who becomes part of Long Island society in the 1920s. His life is spent hosting parties dripping with champagne and watching other people enjoying themselves. The only flaw in his existence is that he is in love with the married Daisy Buchanan with whom he has had an affair with five years ago.
Nick Carraway makes his entrance into this setting and becomes Gatsby’s neighbour. He is fascinated by his landlord’s mysterious past and lavish lifestyle. Gatsby too takes a liking to the young man and invites him over to a party. Carraway meets Gatsby at the party and discovers that he is not the old business magnate he imagined him to be but a good humoured youth with an infectious smile and a catchphrase that he uses to address his allies as “old sport.” Carraway is soon drawn to Gatsby’s circle and becomes a witness to obsession and tragedy.
Like the charming Leonardo DiCaprio himself ‘The great Gatsby’ is a handsome attraction. This is a film which takes classic source material and imbues it on screen with a sense of wonder commensurate to its prior form. Glamour and mammoth sized sets are the highlights of Luhrmann’s version of ‘The Great Gatsby.’ It is more of a extravagant and luxurious wonderland which is brought before the viewers than reality. Therefore there is an aura of unreality in Luhrmann’s vision. It operates more like a lucid dream rather than the real thing. Gatsby unashamedly flaunts his wealth to court the favour of the society and the society in turn, despite the rumours circulating about him, is only to eager and to grab these opportunities with both hands.
The parties are tastefully decorated. The director takes the trouble to describe what kind of people as well as what kind of deeds are taking place in the events. The backdrops of the scenes are either full of colour or details. Some scenes are simply beautiful. The rain soaked reunion between Gatsby and Daisy too work beautifully on screen.
A lot of symbolism is involved in the movie. One of the interesting points in ‘The Great Gatsby’ is that the audience is made to identify with Carraway. Similar to the would-be writer the viewers too are much part of the party as well as outside of it. We too stare up at the windows of the mansion behind which lark all kinds of human secrets but only see ourselves staring back via the reflection.
The green light at the end of the Daisy’s dock is a trance like-beacon from the start, the pendulum that hypnotizes Gatsby and, in turn, the audience. At one point a shooting star is projected to symbolize Gatsby’s love for Daisy.
It also drags a bit too much to stay interesting. Apart from the storyline we get quite a number of scenes which could have been cut out of the story because they merely drag the film. One such scene involves how Daisy and Carraway spent their time exploring Gatsby’s mansion, the house he ostensibly built for Daisy. This itself is a powerful statement but Luhrmann further emphasizes this by creating a picture-perfect setting for their romance to blossom again.
Hangover and a headache
DiCaprio makes a smart Gatsby. Though the storyline is a bit similar to his famous ‘Titanic’ pursuit, the actor has reinvented himself for Gatsby’s role, adding a sly nod to his famous heartthrob characters. When the filmmaker finally introduces him to us after a few shots from behind and afar and with a handful of hearsay, it is delightful to see that DiCaprio lives up to the introduction. The image of him holding up a champagne glass with fireworks exploding behind him and the climax of “Rhapsody in Blue” crashing on the soundtrack is a fitting tribute to his role.
Tobey Maguire does well as Carraway. Joel Edgerton’ does his bit as Daisy’s bullish and unfaithful husband Tom. Isla Fisher is effective in her appearance as Tom’s mistress. Even Indian screen Mogul Amitabh Bachchan makes a presence in the movie as one of Gatsby’s acquaintances.
The bitter pill of the casting is probably Carey Mulligan who seems ill at ease in Daisy Buchanan’s shoes. Mulligan is naturally too empathetic to pull off the cruel carelessness which is required of Daisy’s character. Nor does she fit into the picture of the enchanting heroine who has Gatsby bewitched for five long years.
‘The Great Gatsby’ is very much like the New York society at that time - full of excess and emptiness. Much like Gatsby’s parties overflowing with champagne it is initially intoxicating yet ultimately its overdose brings on a hangover and a headache.
“The key to helping youth navigate contemporary digital life isn’t more restrictions.
It’s freedom - plus communication. What makes the digital street safe is when teens and adults collectively agree to open their eyes and pay attention, communicate and collaboratively negotiate difficult situations...” - Dr. Danah Boyd.
To begin with, this is not at all a self-pleasing ego-excursion. I need to aver, with all the earnestness I can muster, that my preoccupation here, is to raise the alarm.
This urge is brought on by a series of soul-searing tragedies that have deeply scarred the collective soul of the Sri Lankans.
The self-imposed deaths of a number of our innocent children in the recent past, have devastated the totality of our national conscience.
Implicit in this gloomy and sorrow fraught episode, there is a facet, that should alarm us all, as a nation. Some irresponsible and thoughtless people almost cynically and casually attribute the cause of this profoundly moving catastrophe, to external influences.
But, if we adopted the right perspective, we would be pointing an accusing finger at our own selves.
To be specific there are some who attempt to place the blame for this unhappy episode, on social media - Facebook being the most prominent among them.
On the other hand, such a rash assumption is not quite warranted.
When the communication and media landscape at global level, was undergoing change at a surprising clip, we were not quite prepared to absorb these vast and fast fluctuations.
Many of the elitist intellectual leaders in our land did not fully appreciate that the future will come at us, with this swiftness. They were not ready for it.
They did not heed the compelling words of media sages and prophets. The greatest communication seer of our age - Arthur C. Clarke resided among us.
The God-father of the communication satellite forecast, as far back as 1970, that someday, satellites would bring the accumulated knowledge of the world to our fingertips.
The domestic prophet’s earth - shaking prophecies did not awaken most of us to this dramatic future.
In the same year futurist author Alvin Toffler, presented his impactful work Future Shock, to the moderns, to prepare them to what was in the offing.
At numerous academic lectures, seminar presentations, group discussions and related events, I kept on speaking about Toffler’s Future Shock. I was keen to drive home to those who listened, that if we are not adequately prepared to meet what was coming, we will suffer a Future Shock.
I am not being wise after the event. Nor am I keen to derive an unseemly delight, with a cynical “Didn’t I say so.”
Way back, in November 6, 2010, the “inaugural meeting to launch the data-bank for the Diploma Holders of the Journalists Course at the University of Colombo,” was held (of all places) in the canteen of the Sri Lanka Foundation Institution unlikely meeting place was arranged at very short notice, by the academic in-charge of the Diploma Course at the time - Kamal Waleboda. The quick shift of venue was a tribute to his enterprising thinking.)
At that assembly, I presented to Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, the chief guest, a report of suicides of teenagers, who were the victims of social-media hectoring. The minister was moved.
I have been alert to the urgent need to prevent a future shock, to avoid grief and tragedy and to derive the vast benefits offered by Facebook, Twitter et al.
Today Mark Zuckarberg’s Facebook realism has burgeoned into a relationship-based databank of at least 140 billion recorded friendships. (Report dated 8/15 July 2013).
On the 10th anniversary of Facebook - in January M.Z. was quoted as saying, “Facebook was started not just to be a company but to fulfil a vision of connecting the world.”
WWW (the world wide web) came into being just 25 years ago, (March 12, 1989) through a proposal written by Tim Berners - Lee who felt that his idea could be implemented throughout the world.”
Today the number of websites exceeds 600 million. The search volume per day is over three billion.
Given such a world of mind-boggling information and multi-million of friendships, one can imagine how bewildered users would be if they are not fully disciplined in the ethic of their utilisation.
It is here that we should once again consider the imperative of self-searching.
What have we done in any substantial way to prevent the innocent children of our land falling victim to these massive digital oceans, when they try to swim there without the proper discipline and the right mechanism to absorb the treasures they can offer.
In a praiseworthy public pronouncement, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, insisted on the need to attune the users to the rigid discipline essential to enrich from the universe of knowledge the social media are ready to offer-mostly free.
“Futurism” should become a compulsory area in all the institutions of Sri Lanka’s educational system.
I heard that in an extremely remote area in Sri Lanka, Dambane, students from relatively underprivileged social backgrounds, derive extensive benefits from the Internet and social media, as they have received the proper guidance and due discipline, in the utilisation of knowledge machines.
Imputing the fault on external influences, is not at all the right way to do so. In the immediate slip-stream of the tragic losses of children’s lives, an immediate national policy has to be implemented to prevent a “culture shock” and litanies of tragic outcomes.
Discipline - the key
This is how, supreme spiritual leader the Dalai Lama responded to the crucial question, “Do Facebook and Twitter help or hurt our happiness?”
“It depends on how you use them. If the person himself has a certain inner strength, a certain confidence, then it is no problem.
But if a person’s mind is weak, then there is more confusion. You can’t blame technology.
It depends on the user of technology.” This gem was elicited by a question posed by Elizabeth Dias to Dalai Lama.
This is a holy mantram to chant in the face of any troubling issue, from the myriad of social media of our day.
Love is the most beautiful word in the English language and its meaning in all the languages of the world take humans and animals to the very apex of life. There are a few words which make this word to shine. They are, ‘like’, ‘fond’, ‘hope’ and ‘faith'.
A little child used to jump into a neighbour's arms. He simply clung on to her neck. He was in raptures. This was a very frequent happening. An ordained person who had witnessed this, has asked the little one, “Do you love her that much?” “Yes!” “Why do you love her? Because I like her” the angel had replied. The priest had been overawed. “Out of the mouths of babes does truth pour out” had said an emotionally strained prelate.
We love a person, animal, place, a memory or thing because we like them. Love is with us from the very beginning, and for us humans, the heart is a vital component of love. Let us start at the very beginning. “The spring of love is mother” sang maestro Victor Ratnayake. Mother is love, no one knows how her life giving blood turns to life giving milk. The precursor to this miracle is falling in love. “Love is a many splendoured thing”, “You got to love and laugh a little, cry a little. That's the story of, that's the glory of love.”
Our immortal songs of Nat King Cole, Sridhar's film and song “Kadalike neram Illai (There is no time to love)” broke box office records.
Then come adjectives and adverbs that lift love to a peak, love cake, lovely couple, lovable children, a very loving gesture.
Yes, everything that touches our heart is linked to love. Shahjahan built one of the wonders of the world, as an edifice of love in memory of his beloved Mumtaz Mahal.
The Taj Mahal is indeed an everlasting memento of love. Lovely music, a sunset, a performance on the stage or playing field make our spirits to soar with “amor” or “love”.
As said by that sweet child, love and ‘like’ along with ‘fond’ could be related to anything on this planet. Especially faith and hope.
Dogs express their love towards humans by wagging their tails, a gentle whine or falling on their backs expecting a caress of love and the cat shows its love by a purr, a meow and a caress at the master's feet. Animals show their love for their offspring, by being suckled by their mothers, by playing with them and by caring for them. They show their love for one's partner by their love calls, amorous dances the sight of which make humans to love our friends on the lower rungs of the evolutionary ladder.
At times man abandons love. ‘when things fall apart’ as said by the famous African writer, man begins to remember the bad side of life. Love begins to shudder. It strives to heal. A person was seated by the sea shore. Despondency and loneliness had diabolically taken over sanity.
He approaches the turbulent sea, waving and beckoning him. He sees a lovely horizon of red and blue. A lovely sunset is in the offing. He sees a mother waving some cajans. “Two children of about ten and five are with her. One approaches him. “Uncle, please help me pull my little brother in the ‘Kola pottha’ the immortal ‘sleigh’ made of the branch of the arecanut tree. Mallie loves to be pulled on the sea sand”, He takes him by the hand. The mother smiles. “Their father has gone out to sea. The children are very happy because you are going to help them.” Silently this forlorn human being began pulling the sleigh.
“Uncle, did you also like to ride on these when you were small”. Suddenly memories resplendent with love took over him.
With tears in his eyes he placed the elder brother too on the ‘sleigh’ and went round and round and round. There were four mortals there by the sea who had been conquered by love. The person returned to life, faith and hope, Thanks to memories of a lovely past.
Love will lose its meaning without everlasting preaching's of our celestial teachers. They came to heal the world with their words on Meththa, Karuna, peace and brotherhood among all the people. Christ said ‘Greater love no man has than for him to give his life for his friend.’ And ‘Love thy neighbours as yourself’. How many of our gallant sons gave their love and life in bringing hope and fervent faith to our people and our motherland.
The words of our teachers on love will circle the globe till the end of time.
One of the most righteous, humble and pious human beings who walked on this earth-India's Achcharya Vinoba Bhave told the ultra rich, and the Zamindars of India, “If you have three children in your family think that God has given you four.
So, donate one forth of your wealth to those in need. God will bless you and your other three children”.
His project was called ‘Land through love'. Love would have cried with Joy. Only man, the most consummate of beings has, is and will be able to understand love.
Truly love is life, an offering, a virtue and is everlasting.
The ilk of Callum Macrae would have feasted on Niromi de Soyza's 'Tamil Tigress'. Such titles - be it video, audio and text - abound the market now with the blessings of diasporic influences, which in turn plagued the ethnic harmony.
However de Soyza's book offers nothing for these pro-LTTE lobbyists to feast on.
Niromi de Soyza pens her autobiographical memoirs as a female Tiger cadre. In plain terms, her job is not a piece of cake. A female tiger cadre alive to this day is a fact hard to believe - but facts are strange. Even harder to believe is the fact that a living female Tiger soldier would pen her story to print.
That unbelievably comes to pass, since the Tigress ceased to have faith in her own organization. She was disillusioned with the organization's mission, vision and contradictory activities.
It was two days before Christmas 1987 and I was seventeen years old. The only sound I could hear was that of my thumping heart; all I could see was the fear in the faces of the others. Sweat trickled down my back. We were silent. Our ears were fine-tuned to any sound of stealthy footsteps and our eyes to any sighting of strangers. Our fingers were primed on the triggers of our rifles.
It seemed like a typical morning for us as Tigers, but that was about to change dramatically. By the time the sun would set on us this day, nothing would be the same again. Michael Roberts, in his sceptic review on the book, maintains that the passage gives an erroneous picture of a military encounter between the LTTE and the Government Forces. In 1987 while the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) agreement was in operation, the LTTE carried out their guerrilla activity in secrecy.
The graphically detailed passage, according to Roberts, could be attributed to a military encounter between the LTTE and the IPK Forces. Non-fiction genre is no alien category to Sri Lankan literature. But its counterpart, fiction, has outsmarted the genre. Non-fiction, or memoirs, has not gained much ground as most Sri Lankan authors do not have resounding life-experiences to share. What is mostly available as non-fiction comes from the Arab world - of their domestic violence and gender harassment.
The non-fiction demands much credibility and assures a good readership audience. Fiction enjoys no such privileges, just like the age-old Twain adage: 'Truth is stranger than fiction'. Anyone could possibly afford to pen fiction, provided they have good imagination and richness in vocabulary. Having said that, 'Tamil Tigress' attracts many speculations on its credibility. It could very well be fiction in the guise of non-fiction as a marketing stunt. All the same, the book is worth reading, as it punctuates gruesome episodes in Sri Lanka's embattled period.
'Tamil Tigress' stands alone in Lanka's postwar literature, owing to its annotated description of the LTTE's brutal training methods. Niromi's tone perhaps pacifies the very same brutality though her description is quite picturesque. Whether it is fiction in the guise of non-fiction or otherwise, the book offers firsthand experience. It is not Narayan Swami who chronicled Prabhakaran as an outsider, but this is Niromi de Soyza who can claim to have been there, done that. Surprisingly she weathered all those hardships to share the story with us today.
Whether the book is authentic or allegedly inauthentic, 'Tamil Tigress' is a broad rubric of reconciliation. The author was raised in a middle-class Tamil Christian family and at 17 ran away from her convent school to join the Tigers. Following her disillusionment, she joins a boarding school in India and later migrates to Australia. Niromi de Soyza adopts her penname in honour of the late journalist Richard Soyza.
Why she goes for a penname may baffle many of us. With the terrorist organization demolished to the ground, at least militarily, how could she possibly have fears about her security? Her passages offer a veiled answer. 'War between the Sri Lankan armed forces and the Tigers then resumed after a short period of peace.
Brutal training methods
With the substantial financial support from the large Tamil diaspora around the world, the guerrilla organisation I left behind became a sophisticated war machine, building extensive global networks and establishing its own air and sea capabilities. The Tigers' methods also became more extreme. Having pioneered the suicide belt, they undertook hundreds of suicide bombing missions (one third of them by females), targeting civilians and politicians as well as military targets. Most notably the Black Tiger suicide squad has been blamed for the assassinations of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1993, and several other daring and deadly attacks, including the one on the Sri Lankan (Bandaranaike) International airport in 2001. That one word, diaspora, offers sufficient satisfactory grounds for her fears.
It is some time since translations have dominated the book industry. Doubtful it is, though, whether these translations are legitimately processed.
Most books published within fifty years are translated and published with no proper permission obtained from the original publisher.
Most local publishers do not care much about the fact that these books are copy-right protected. Illegal publishing is quite possible, because the original publishers won't trouble themselves to come here and sue the publishers.
Even in such a background, Sarasavi Publishers have sought written permission from the original publishers in publishing the translation. That calls for some applause.
Hey, I'm somewhere between 18 and 30. Stop being rude. Don't blame me. I'm not an expert, I'm just saying what I see. People get paid a fortune to define the prevailing characteristics of each generation.
And what do those people say? In a nutshell: baby boomers are wealthy and selfish. Generation Xers are disappointed and cynical. And millennials – that's you – are whiny and entitled.
Hey, I said stop being so mean! See? Entitled.
But didn't baby boomers think that Generation X was entitled? And didn't the second world war generation think that baby boomers were entitled? Well, yes, I suppose so. So all you're really saying is that everyone assumes that society peaked when they were a teenager, and that every subsequent generation is a horrible disappointment? Perhaps.
But you're the first generation to call yourselves “digital natives”, which is a horrible term. That just means we know how to use smartphones. But you don't have to use them all the time. You don't have to tweet every meal you eat, or make Vines of every concert you go to, or Snapchat Instagrams of selfies and poke them at people on Facebook. Do you actually know what you're talking about? You want the latest phone and you want the best job, even if you haven't earned it. You think you're special, even though it's painfully obvious to the rest of the world that you're just as mediocre as everyone else. Your life is a mess of unrealistic expectations. Ah, I get it. You're jealous. Not at all. Science is on my side here. The University of New Hampshire did a study and found that all your impossible expectations make you horrible employees. Wow, that's depressing. Can't you say anything to cheer me up? Well, I'm obviously not talking about you here. You're brilliant.
Really? I knew it! Just kidding. You're the worst.
Then how do I get better? You don't. In a couple of years, Generation Z will come of age. Then you'll have someone to pick on for being lazy and disappointing. Honestly, it's so much fun. You'll love it.
Do say: “Clearly none of this applies to me. I really am special.”
Once a thriving part of the Roman Empire, the city of Pompeii was buried in nearly two stories of volcanic ash when Mount Vesuvius exploded in 79 AD. It was a rare volcanic incident that, instead of lava, waves of deadly heat and ash were thrown out that more or less cemented the inhabitants of Pompeii in place, leaving their corpses as eerie evidence when they were unearthed centuries later.
Paul W S Anderson’s ‘Pompeii’ centers on this reality. Dubbed a disaster adventure film which also focuses on two star-crossed lovers ‘Pompeii’ gets off to a promising start with a scene from Milo’s youth. The young lad witnesses his family of Celtic horse tribe being slaughtered by the minions of a Roman senator named Corvus. Around 17 years later the same lad, now a grownup young man, is reintroduced as a slave turned gladiator played by Kit Harrington of ‘Game of Thrones’ fame.
The movie effectively highlights the frivolity of making plans. Corvus has come to Pompeii not only to claim Cassia as his wife but also sponsor her father’s plans in rebuilding the city. Meantime Milo is brought from Brittania and is fated to square off against Pompeii’s reigning champion, Atticus.
As the tug of war for power and love continues Mount Vesuvius waits only making an occasional rumble. This is a sign of the doom which awaits the citizens of Pompeii at the end.
The battle scenes are crisply choreographed. One that particularly stands out is when Milo and Atticus take on a battalion of Roman soldiers. ‘Pompeii’ also offers a visually stunning scale of destruction.
A drawback in the film is that Anderson seems to have staged a lot of tiresome non-action scenes. Milo’s and Pompeiian beauty Cassia’s romance is hardly convincing or charming. The two do not share any romantic vibes as such till the end when they are buried in lava. The only emotion they offer is one of big-eyed sadness. Therefore the climax hardly tugs at our heartstrings.
The fires of Mount Vesuvius seem to be the least of the characters’ concerns at times. The violent release of smoke, fire, and meteoric debris seems to be inserted into the film to increase the dramatic element rather than as its main attraction. Instead Anderson favors fireballs, rains of ash, ground-shredding earthquakes, and a massive tsunami to stir up interest unsuccessfully. Most of the film focuses on the political manipulations of Sutherland’s smirking senator and the lackluster love story between Harington and Browning.
A heart-stopping thriller
‘Pompeii’ has clearly lifted some scenes and lines from movies like ‘Gladiator,’Dante’s Peak’ and ‘The Dark Knight’. It has given a Roman twist to the ‘Titanic’ tale which also focuses on two tragic lovers divided by class scrambling to get to safety amid natural disasters. Meantime their power-drunk nemesis stalks them till the end.
Kit Harington does not seem to be at ease with his character. He seems more confused and intimidated rather than courageous and charismatic. The same could be said of Emily Browning. She hardly seems appropriate for Cassia’s role since she seems older than what the film indicates her to be. One almost wonders what Corvus and Milo sees in her to go to such pains to claim her.
Jessica Lucas is much more charming in contrast to Browning as Cassia’s black lady servant, Ariadne. However the outstanding character in ‘Pompeii’ is Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje who plays Atticus, the African gladiator who is one fight away from earning his freedom. Fearsome and brawny, you believe him as a warrior as he wields weapons and threats. All this he does with a charming smile and a twinkle in his eye showing the viewers that there is heart in his character. Therefore his demise touches the viewers more than that of the protagonists.
Kiefer Sutherland does not make a convincing Corvus. He scowls pontificates and yowls about the glory of Rome too many times. ‘Pompeii’ could have been a heart-stopping thriller yet it ends up being a clichéd love story. ‘Pompeii’ is TicketsLK’s first movie distribution in Sri Lanka. The movie is screening at Liberty Lite cinema.