Angel of Mine

Vampire Owl: Which type of mine are they talking about?

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that the usage is like that here.

Vampire Owl: I can think of a copper mine, gold mine or coal mine.

Vampire Bat: This is not a movie about that kind of a mine.

Vampire Owl: Okay, you are talking about a highly explosive land mine.

Vampire Bat: It is the thing which is used to refer to a something belonging to speaker, and will be related to nothing else.

Vampire Owl: It is disappointing. I was reading about the Romans using caltrops which were like land mines without explosions.

Vampire Bat: This movie surely has an angel belonging to the speaker, who is a mother, or rather mothers.

Vampire Owl: So, it is a daughter that they need.

Vampire Bat: Exactly, for it is about mothers and daughters.

[Gets a guava cake and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: Lizzie (Noomi Rapace) and Mike (Luke Evans) used to be husband and wife, but now they are looking for divorce, after having a strained relationship for years after the death of her second child a few days after birth, in a fire happening at the hospital. They are also fighting for the custody of their son Thomas (Finn Little) which has him disgusted, especially at the attitude of his mother, who hasn’t been the same after the death of his little sister. Lizzie who is working at a beauty parlour is not happy at what has happened, but doesn’t do anything to change things around, not socializing with people much, and trying to evade even people close to her. But as one day, when she goes to the birthday party of her son’s friend Jeremy (Indi Serafin), thinks change, as she feels that a girl Lola (Annika Whiteley) whom she sees there, is her daughter whom she thought, had died in the fire at the hospital.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Lizzie cannot sleep or concentrate in her work, because she feels that she cannot be wrong in this, and that Lola is really her daughter named Rosie. Initially, she doesn’t say this to anyone, and tries to get into the house where her possible lost daughter is staying, becoming friends with Claire (Yvonne Strahovski) who is planning move into another city, thus leaving her home open for sale. Lizzie poses as a buyer, and also makes use of his son’s friendship with the boy there. Claire’s husband Bernard (Richard Roxburgh) also hopes that she buys the house as soon as possible, and this allows Lizzie to be closer to Lola. Even though she seems to keep a distance in the beginning, can she keep herself away as the family is moving to their new home soon? Will Claire also know about this, and how will she react to Lizzie’s guess work? Is Lizzie out of her mind, as she once used to be?

The defence of Angel of Mine :: There is something about Angel of Mine which will keep you want to know what happens next. It is not just the need to know the truth about the death of a child and also on the life of one, but also about how Noomi Rapace and Yvonne Strahovski are going to handle this, and how their characters will go through this, as this is very much performance-oriented. The former has another huge performance of her career, and the latter follows really well. There are those twists which are more dramatic rather than thrilling here. The final moments are nice, and there is a fine emotional touch running through the whole movie – there is nothing that touches one’s feelings more than a mother’s love, other than the emotions of a mother who has lost her child. Here, we have the mother who has also lost her husband and is almost losing her other child, and has no social life at all – it is where emotions run high.

The claws of flaw :: The movie remains slow throughout its run-time, and there is nothing in there to make rise above that lack pace. The struggle to accelerate can be seen on many occasions, but it can’t escape the drag which it possesses from the time when this was supposed to be interesting – it could have been even one big thriller after that moment of feeling, but after that it doesn’t use those wings to fly, but stays grounded. Making this movie fast-paced was the first step towards getting more people to watch the whole thing without looking at somewhere else, because it is that kind of a topic, with some of the best acting performance lead by Noomi Rapace. The movie should have also added something in there as a clue, and this could have been more like an investigative thriller with the mother searching for her daughter who was supposed to be dead, but this movie never rises to that level, which sadly seems to be intentional.

Performers of the soul :: Noomi Rapace might be one of the most versatile actresses we have ever seen, first noticed with the Swedish movie adaptations of the Millennium series by Steig Larsson – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest. For the common Hollywood audience, she is known to have played Madame Simza Heron in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and Dr. Elizabeth Shaw in Prometheus, the latter being one of the most solid performances in any alien movie, making us disappointed not to have her in the sequel Alien: Covenant. The Secrets We Keep and The Price are two more thrillers which are to come from here. While she is indeed brilliant here, we also have something of similar class from Yvonne Strahovski, the lady we know from I, Frankenstein among the demons. Luke Evans, the DraculaHobbitFuriousNOL star is just there for namesake and nothing more.

How it finishes :: A remake of the 2008 French film titled Mark of an Angel, this version has also managed to have almost the same number of positive opinions from the critics, as the new version is supposed to have stayed close to original as much as possible. With Noomi Rapace around, one has to believe that the English version has to be stronger, as she has the habit of making everything better than they are supposed to be, as even the already wonderful Alien: Covenant was lifted to another level with her at centre of everything. Angel of Mine is the kind of movie which begins very slow, and keeps everything going without accelerating at any moment, with a realistic ending, keeping it close to life throughout its run. This is the kind of movie which is the best for the lovers of drama, and from a distance, it is also a partial, slow thriller. You can watch Angel of Mine and see how things work without pretensions.

Release date: 30th August 2019
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Kim Farrant
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Yvonne Strahovski, Luke Evans, Richard Roxburgh, Rebecca Bower, Annika Whiteley, Finn Little, Emily Gruhl, Rob Collins, Indi Serafin, Tracy Mann, Richard Roxburgh, Mirko Grillini

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Udta Punjab

Vampire Owl: I know a few humans who thought that they would never get to watch this movie.

Vampire Bat: There are humans who think that they will never get to see a vampire, but here we are, able to appear whenever we wish to.

Vampire Owl: I heard that they had a problem with censor board.

Vampire Bat: We should be thankful that the movies about the great deeds of Uncle Dracula are not given to them for certification.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that the great imperial vampire video was uncensored?

Vampire Bat: Yes, you easily get that from the violence.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that it is violence – what you see in the video feels rather natural than anything else.

Vampire Bat: It is more natural to humans than us, but they censor it, you know.

Vampire Owl: They are so afraid of the inherent evil in them.

Vampire Bat: Yes, and they blame everyone other than them for the same.

[Gets three cups of English tea with special snacks].

What is the movie about? :: The movie tells the tale of four people people in the state of Punjab, a Punjabi musician named Tejinder Singh (Shahid Kapoor), an unnamed Bihari migrant working at a farm known only by the name Bauria (Alia Bhatt), an inspector in the Punjab police department named Sartaj Singh (Diljit Dosanjh), and a doctor who is also a social activist named Preet Sahni (Kareena Kapoor), whose lives get connected to each other due to the smuggling of drugs into the state. Sartaj’s brother Balli Singh (Prabhjyot Singh) is one of those drug addicts who ends up in the hospital, and it turns out that the police officer had almost no idea about his brother using drugs. He is treated by Preet who hopes to bring him back to normal life, through her rehabilitation cenre. At the same time, she tells Sartaj that the drug menace has become too much and the police department is not taking action about the same.

So, what happens next? :: As Sartaj decides to get deep into the drug problem, Tejinder, who is known by the name Tommy Singh, and as Gabru among his fans, is leading a rather clueless life outside the world of music. Throwing parties all the time, and keeping on consuming cocaine, he has no control over his life. His fans are not that different either, as they follow his example, having no responsibility, and trying to be like him. As Tommy takes this troubled path, he ends up in jail, and there he meets his fans inspired by him ending up in prison just like him. Sartaj is also the one to arrest Tommy, and is influenced by Preet to do something against the drug problem which threatens to turn the state into a situation similar to Mexico. He decides that it is time that he does something about this problem against which nobody even dares to talk or take action.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: As this girl known by the name Bauria wanders around in the farm where she is working, she ends up finding a packet. She understands that it is some kind of drug, as her landlord uses agriculture to hide his dealing with drugs. The girl, who had her dreams of playing national level hockey for the nation shattered, decides to sell this, and get some money. But she doesn’t know trouble she is getting herself into, as she is captured by a gang of drug dealers who sexually abuse her, and keep her locked in their farmhouse. It is then that a reformed Tommy decides to take responsibility to change the world, and Sartaj as well as Preet gets further in gathering information about the drug problem and the people behind the same. But with so many powerful people including police and politicians having their hands in the same, can anyone bring a change?

The defence of Udta Punjab :: There is sincerity about this movie, and we are put face to face against an evil which needs to be stopped as soon as possible. The best thing about the movie is that it never glorifies drug abuse – there was the movie Spirit against alcohol, which began with the glorification of the same only to end up with a message against the same as it strived towards the finish. But Udta Punjab begins and ends with the same idea shown on the screen, and chooses the right path. At the same time, we once again notice that it is Alia Bhatt who steals the show with that kind of a character which is to stay with us for long, unlike what she has been doing with ridiculous romantic flicks like Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania, Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya and Shaandar, or some half-cooked story like Dear Zindagi. Here she scores by playing the role of a commoner going through the struggle, and we know how good she can be, from Highway. Shahid Kapoor, at the same time, seems to live in this role, which is too good to watch. Diljit Dosanjh, whom most of us are seeing for the first time on the screen, has a controlled and memorable performance in store for us here. Kareena Kapoor, compared to the rest, has lesser to do, but remains the big presence.

The claws of flaw :: You will feel that the movie does go too slow in the middle, and it also takes a little too much in the beginning to get going, having you as a doubtful one in the beginning. The movie could have used its tale in a more effective way so that nothing is lost in the middle. There is rather too much of ups and downs in this movie, which could have kept itself at a certain level instead of coming down when not expected. A lot of people are also going to feel the essence of a documentary in this one, as there are no real heroes in this one, but common people who struggle against an evil which threatens to destroy our world – not really the usual Bollywood-ish kind of thing, is it? Well, it also seems to be forced to add a little bit of a romantic side to its main characters, and maybe the inspiration for the same is nothing more than knowing that we still have the Bollywood fans to please and gather support so that the one hundred crore mark could be reached. The seemingly funny side is also as a little bit too strange at times to be called funny.

How it finishes :: Udta Punjab is the movie that you can’t ignore, no matter what you think about it – it is also difficult to end up not appreciating this effort which seems so genuine right from the beginning itself. There is a certain amount of honesty here that we will end up appreciating – even when there is chance, the movie doesn’t pretend to be what it is not. It is surely a lesson, something for the new generation who is taking the easy path out with alcohol and drugs; the question will be whether they will learn enough from the movie to stop being addicted or if they will continue to fall into addiction. No matter what the youth decides, it is up to everyone to unite against the drug menace, and also spread the word against this kind of silent terror which has more strength than any direct act of terrorism to destroy our world as well as what goes beyond the same.

PS: Do watch the movie of the week, Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum.

Release date: 17th June 2016
Running time: 149 minutes
Directed by: Abhishek Chaubey
Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor, Diljit Dosanjh, Satish Kaushik, Suhail Nayyar, Prabhjyot Singh, Harpreet Singh, Manav Vij, Avinash Kumar

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.