DIFF 2013 Film Review: Midnight’s Children based off of the book by Salman Rushdie

midnight's children movie posterReview by: Mut Asheru

At the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, as India declares independence from Great Britain, two babies are switched at birth by a nurse in a Bombay hospital. And so it is that Saleem Sinai (Satya Bhabha), the bastard child of a beggar woman, and Shiva (Siddharth), the only son of a wealthy couple, are fated to live the destinies meant for each other. Over the next three decades, Saleem and Shiva find themselves on opposite sides of many a conflict, whether it be because of class, politics, romantic rivalry, or the constantly shifting borders that are drawn every time neighbors become enemies and decide to split their newborn nation into two, and then three, warring countries. Through it all, the lives of Saleem and Shiva are mysteriously intertwined. They are also inextricably linked to the history of India itself, which takes them on a whirlwind journey full of trials, triumphs and disasters.

Well-intentioned but bloated at a whopping 2hrs and 30mins. MIDNIGHT’S CHILDREN directed by Deepa Mehta is unable to deliver on its promise.  The script did not deliver on impact and was not able to get us there to that special place of belief, wonder and awe. What were the children supposed to accomplish and why were they special? It all gets lost in the telling of India and Pakistan history.

It was stated that the children were the great promise of India because of their magical powers…like X-Men. But there are no special shows of power save for 2 instances Parvati (Shriya Sara) makes Saleem and her child invisible inside a basket. The arch enemy who is also a Midnight’s Child has a special bully power that gives him the ability to become a gang leader? Actually I think his power was the ability to lead others…but…

Excellent direction, acting and cinematography aside, MIDNIGHT’S CHILDREN was a film grand in scope perhaps on paper but on the big screen it falls flat.

Seen at the 2013 Dallas International Film Festival

 

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