Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015) – A Simple Premise Delivered with Careful Purpose (Spoilers)

When one hears Yash Raj Films, titles such as
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Mohabbatein, Veer-Zaara and Fanaa spring to mind. Feel-good, tragic, warmth-inducing icons of Indian cinema. So, when I read the synopsis for Dum Laga Ke Haisha, I had to double-check the production company. Here’s the trailer with English subtitles.

Dum Laga Ke Haisha couldn’t stand out more from the crowd. While couples in the films mentioned appear to overcome the odds, Prem (Ayushmann Khurrana) and Sandhya (Bhumi Pednekar) really don’t look like they have a chance at all. Firstly, they’re drawn into an arranged marriage that Sandhya appears to look forward to, at least. Secondly, and the stickiest point, is that Sandhya is “plus-sized”. Bollywood (Hollywood, too) heroines, even if they’re oddballs, are still too glamourous. There’s pressure for viewers everywhere to conform. That’s why Dum Laga Ke Haisha is an important film: it dares to be different. It may subscribe to Bollywood’s slice-of-life, feel-good style at times, yet it has an independent film feel.

The beauty of the film lies with Sandhya, which is an ironic statement to make given the film’s premise. She knows she doesn’t live up to standards looks-wise but she carries herself with confidence. A lot is asked of prospective brides: certain caste, educated, social-standing, culinary skills,
beauty, fair skin and obedience. It’s Sandhya’s prospects as a teacher that’s a large draw for Prem’s family. Notice how I said family. Practically the minute after their marriage, his family nit-pick at Sandhya, mostly behind her back but Prem’s aunt is catty enough to fling insults Sandhya’s way about her weight. Thankfully, Prem’s father counters this by highlighting his son’s less-than stellar qualities. She could be – is – a good-natured woman with her head screwed on right. Also, even with her figure, Sandhya is quite lovely – especially with her hair out. Unfortunately, her husband and his family aren’t willing to realise that. Until the climax of the film, she takes what they deliver, illustrating her inner strength.

The most heartbreaking moments of the film are in scenes involving the married couple. Not only is Prem visibly displeased during the marriage ceremony, he avoids being seen with Sandhya in public. She clearly relishes exploring local streets on the arm of her husband but he finds every opportunity to put space between them. He goes on about her weight, worst of all: he bursts out loud that he finds her physically repulsive to sleep with. Viewers feel a punch to their own stomachs, especially as she witnesses this. She smacks him (many would say right on) and he retaliates. At this point, things are spiraling leaving viewers wondering if there is any going back after this. The scene that evokes the most emotion is when Sandhya is forced to explain why she’s back at her parents’ home. She has to not only re-live the awful moment she was publicly insulted, but is forced to admit that society finds her undesirable. This once again emphasises the pressure Indian women are under, especially as carriers of their family’s honour. The delivery of this brings tears to viewers’ eyes.

With a family such as his, it is easy to understand why Prem just can’t get going. His father is overly-strict, pushing him into a box Prem doesn’t fit in, while his mother and aunt spoil him and overlook his flaws. That’s not to say he’s not responsible for his actions in the film, it just explains why he is so. It may be difficult to witness his lacklustre life, however Prem’s depressive state and his father’s treatment of it opens eyes. The message is to try to look beneath the word lazy and examine what has caused it. Prem’s family represent how not to handle mental health problems.

There are comedic moments that leave the audience either snickering or full-on cackling. Moments such as Sandhya putting on an erotic film to get her new husband in the mood, to his aunts overhearing his eventual bedroom exploits. ‘My son has become a man’ his mother declares. It’s difficult not to lose it at that point. Moreover, Sandhya’s brother is a little brat with his insensitive remarks towards his sister. Sandhya gives as good as is delivered, which adds to the humour.

A few more unsavoury actions from Prem towards Sandhya and he finally demonstrates some change. He accepts she deserves better than him and wakes her up to his family’s deceptiveness. While his transformation towards loving Sandhya during the couple’s race seems a bit sudden and out-of-the-blue, it’s definitely satisfactory to watch them both reach a level of happiness. After a struggle to adjust to marriage to each other, Prem and Sandhya are finally happy. The song and dance sequence during the end credits is an example of Bollywood conventions done right: the focus has been on the storyline, now that it’s resolved, it’s time to celebrate. Dum Laga Ke Haisha is a film to be celebrated, itself.


The Mystery of Rey: Clever Marketing from Disney

Following the revitalisation of the Star Wars franchise with Episode 7: The Force Awakens, one question emerged out of many: who is Rey?

Scores of articles appeared on Google daily, litigating Rey’s parentage. Some championed Luke Skywalker as her father, attributing similarities in character arcs, while others suggested Han Solo or even Obi-Wan Kenobi. Or some other theory entirely. The debate borders on fierceness, but one thing has gone unnoticed. The question of Rey’s background has sustained our interest in the upcoming Episode 8, and the franchise itself.

This isn’t just because they can’t cram everything into one film, this is because they want to hook us and keep us hooked. And it’s worked. Not only do we look forward to finding out what culminates following the drama of the Solo family, we itch to receive more hints (because we know the writers wouldn’t just have a character blurt out that they’re someone’s Father – oh wait…hehe) about Rey’s backstory. They have fed us tidbits in the form of the lightsabre discovery scene, which tells us that Rey was left with Unkar Plutt for her own safety. That entire montage has inspired countless minds to go into thinking overdrive.

In this way, Disney can be rest assured that this unrelenting ‘Who is Rey?’ question carries most of the marketing weight. All they need is a tantalising teaser and an exciting official trailer, and they’ve ensured that the Disney coffers will always be filled up. Conventions also provide the opportunity for fans to present their questions and theories: those end up making news.

Still don’t believe that story-crafting is more than just creativity? I present Exhibit-I’ve-forgotten-which-number: J.J. Abrams’ Mystery Box. In Abrams’ view, the mystery box symbolises opportunity; it’s imperative to keep it closed until the right time. Think delayed gratification. Whether you think the mystery box is gimmicky or lazy, in the case of Star Wars, it has worked. The number of articles, blog posts and youtube videos attests to that.

So, don’t have much money for promoting your film? Hold back on key details and promise to unveil them at the right moment. Then the reveal pays off. That applies to novels, too. Don’t worry about boring your readers and stuffing exposition all at the beginning. Toss a meat drumstick with the promise of a massive feast.

We Need to Talk About The Keeping Room (2014)

Racking up just 2 1/2 stars on Netflix (as of 10th January 2016), The Keeping Room‘s quiet, unappreciated presence is puzzling given its hook. Three young Southern women left to defend their land against, well, anything, during the American Civil War. Two sisters and their slave. That in itself should prove a draw for some positivity as American Civil War films tend to focus more on the men going to war and the effects on their families, rather than isolating the story on female survival. To be fair, Gone With the Wind does feature Southern women coping while the men are at war, however it is overshadowed by the tempestuous relationship between Rhett and Scarlett. The fact that Augusta (Brit Marling), Louise (Hailee Steinfeld) and Mad (Muna Otaru) are the sole focus of the film, allows us to hone in on their situation without distraction.

Thankfully, their dynamic isn’t rosy; it’s raw. Augusta is the elder daughter who has taken charge and is calmly dominant, Louise is a teenager who wants to be Lady of the Manor rather than get her elbows dirty, and is bigoted towards their slave Mad, who carries out her tasks as she has always done. Mad always appears as if she wants to spit some truths out, but is unsure despite the somewhat equal status the three are beginning to share. An heiress (by lack of men), her demanding teenage sister and their slave sounds almost like “they walk into a bar”. It’s rather fascinating that without the backdrop of the Civil War, there’s little possibility of the trio being so united despite their positions in society.

The film, being independent, is in no hurry to press on with the plot, savouring everything going on in the scene: the pace matches the slow, hostile surroundings. This shouldn’t put anyone off from viewing, as  For such a barren land, danger hangs over them like a promise. It’s almost apocalyptic. The region is tense and the viewer becomes absorbed in that the-keeping-room-1tension. Uneasiness settles into the audience when they await the masculine violence on the horizon. On the hunt for medicine for Louise’s raccoon bite, Augusta is warned by a tavern owner that it’s not safe for her to be there, cut to two Union soldiers in the corner drinking and eyeing her up. With hardly any men present (the tavern owner seems to be the only man in the area), any woman is fair game. Any traditional gender conventions are non-existent at this point.

In the opening credits, William Tecumseh Sherman is quoted: ‘War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it; the crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.’ There’s a hardened statement if ever spoken; a justification for all-out violence. Moses, one of the Union soldiers, parrots this in a stand-off with Augusta to explain his thirst for pain and destruction. They’re both right: war is cruelty, yet I can’t agree with the level of cruelty dictating its status. The heavier the atrocity, the more likely the retaliation. Retaliation doesn’t necessarily result in finality. Well, in order to survive the three women have to resort to delving into violence.

The Keeping Room itself provides warmth, food and domestic cohesion (which ends up being cathartic), however it’s not immediately considered as a place to arm and guard themselves. Despite being associated with female domesticity, it doesn’t serve as protection against masculine violence, therefore they can only seek sanctuary by barricading themselves in the house once belonging to men, and arming themselves with the guns of their menfolk as well. Additionally, the women don men’s clothes knowing full well that they will be able to carry out their subversive duties with little harassment.

Could the film benefit from a little more backstory? Of course. I also felt that, despite voicing their reasons for committing their appalling acts, Moses (Sam Worthington) and Henry (Kyle Soller) are never fleshed out. Villains are villains, and yes, their actions speak for their thought processes, but even villains need some backstory. Although we know the-keeping-room-2they’ve broken off from the impending Union Army to forge their own path, we never really get a sense of who they are. The subtle difference: Henry is a drunkard who enjoys the company of women (whether they like it or not), but is also unpredictable. As for Moses: he’s composed and more controlled. He has the ability to mess with your head in the way that you don’t know whether you’re safe or in danger in his presence.

Thankfully, The Keeping Room has received positive ratings on Rotten Tomatoes,  as it deserves. Its indie status shouldn’t deter lovers of fast-paced, action thrillers (guns, cars, international gangs and the like): this can invoke the same thrills felt watching the latter. At (reaching) 1 hour 50, a further 10 minutes could’ve been better spent with the villains in order to increase our fear of them even more, thus making their presence more devastating on the viewer. A 2 hour film would undoubtedly not be taxing for audiences.

Disparue/The Disappearance Episodes 5 and 6 – Analysis

Episode 5

Well now we know. Poor Rose Morel is the one who has to discover Lea’s corpse in the water. And boy is it a grim sight. I must applaud her for her environmental consciousness though. Molina and Camille’s superior orders them to prioritise documents for the prosecutor, disparue-24however Molina asserts that informing the Morel family is more important, and Camille confirms that with a glare for their superior’s lack of sensitivity. I don’t
know if that’s trying to suggest that all higher-ups in any industry are chiefly concerned with paper pushing and number work; it certainly is the case here. The real professionalism is led by the leaders on the ground; Molina and Camille are the disparue-25real leaders here. Molina’s put in a strange position where he has to have both policeman and father hats on. He comforts a traumatised Rose, offering to take her home. Camille steps in and says that she can both take her home and watch over her.

Molina only has to appear at the door and Julien knows Lea’s been found dead. His reaction and the score make this and the following scenes difficult to watch. Little Zoe is forced to witness her parents break down. There is no dialogue, just soundtrack. It’s truly sad. There is a montage of others finding out about her death and we find ourselves peering for any sign that one of them is the murderer. All are upset; doesn’t mean that they are upset about her death but the circumstances around it. Regret. We can only wait. If you think the news is hard to watch, Lea’s parents at the morgue is the most emotionally-scarring scene. Camille and Molina are really struggling to hold it together. Julien asks to spend some time alone with his daughter. He is clearly distraught by her body, but is it to mourn her properly or ask for secret forgiveness? Later on the immediate family convenes in the kitchen and all of them just collapse into shared grief. Again, the most sympathy goes towards Zoe who is too young to be able to witness and handle this. As soon as the news hits, where does Chris go? That’s right: straight to Romain. It smacks of suspicion. Girl your cousin has just been found in the most gruesome circumstances and you’re sniffing around her ex again? Hm.

Meanwhile, Molina’s ex-wife turns up in light of what happens to her daughter, and her reasoning is rather annoying (it also gives away why they separated). She blames Molina himself for Rose being exposed to the darker undercurrents of society – don’t they live in Lyon too? So even if she weren’t with her father, chances are she still could’ve encountered Lea or at least been affected by her from afar. I’m not convinced, former Mrs Molina. Luckily Rose fires back that she had no problem dumping her on her own father when she pleased. Molina defends his ex lightly, to do the right thing obviously, but also because he secretly wants Rose to stay. They’ve just started bonding. With the discovery of the body, our favourite forensic scientist with a monster crush on Molina. There’s a strange silent communication between her and Camille. Is Camille egging her on to flirt with Molina or giving her another warning? Oh God it’s like secondary school: Molina puts a hand on forensic lady’s shoulder and you just know she’s falling hard.

Now her form tutor/French teacher Mathias Tellier comes under the light. This proves another moral tale: even if you’re telling the truth and you are passionate about your subjects, don’t have access to the pupils outside of the school environment. His reasoning behind using an alias is suspicious as well. He apparently uses on so that the pupils don’t feel that they’re talking to a teacher. Yeah . . . no. That’s complete – you get the picture. Tellier heaps praise on the woman that Lea became. That goes beyond discussing literature. As it turns out, Lea was not the first pupil he developed a relationship with; Molina and Camille visit one of his previous schools and the headteacher informs him that they had to fire him to avoid a statutory rape prosecution.  Well that explains everything. He ended up marrying the last student he seduced. Her parents are oddly fine with it all. This region is extremely bizarre.

Molina and Camille receive news that can only solidify Lea in the Wild Child Hall of Fame. She was pregnant at the time of death. All the men in her life are DNA tested to find out who the father was and whether they were the cause of her death-by-brick. Molina is explicit in his wish for none of them to find out these bits of information. Knowledge of a pregnancy would change the game and not for the better. They need to monitor all suspects for slip-ups. Especially where the brick is concerned. Whoever did it wouldn’t know that they police now have this specific information and accidentally mention it. Molina’s scan of everyone at the wake confirms that one or two of them are excellent actors. Jean’s hurry to get rid of Nick before he tells Julien something basically means Jean stinks of fish. Nick’s moves are going to cost him dearly.

Episode 6

So creepy obsessed Nick offed himself apparently, leaving a suicide note typed into his iPad. A new age of crime. It seems like Molina and Camille are going along with this.  The writers are throwing us off again. Louvin, their overlord, turns up (as does Rose) to talk to Molina; Camille’s expression when he’s there is worthy of being a display picture/gif on OhNoTheyDidn’t. She doesn’t have to say a word to express her dislike of Louvin. She isn’t wrong. Their supervisor is pushing for this case to close before any loose ends are tied up. How did this man get this job, again? Was probably given the promotion after a table and a glass of wine. Rose is basically our middlewoman regarding what is going on with the characters of Camille and Molina. She decides to observe Camille whilst stuffing her face with a sandwich. Questions begin with: how long have you been in the force? 7 years. Do you have a boyfriend? I haven’t had one for 3 months *ex calls her mobile*. Are you sleeping with my dad? Wait – WHAT?? Did she actually just go there? YES. Because not only is Rose a teenager, she’s direct – takes after her father. Tastily delivered, might I add; Rose delivers that particular question like the cat with the cream. Camille is understandably flustered. She tells Rose: even if she were, she wouldn’t tell her. They’re bonding already.

The Molina family has already accepted the outcome. Florence curses him, and then decides to press on with Zoe’s birthday party. Which is a good idea, because focusing on the one daughter they have left will both help them come to terms with Lea’s death and protect her innocence as well. Chris is still taking care of her and acting as surrogate sister. Speaking of Chris, girl has finally managed to get Romain to show something towards her. When they meet in the cemetery, they express each other’s loss before passionately kissing. Well, they do a lot more than that if you catch my drift. Romain can’t quite . . . finish, for picturing Lea. Freud would be extremely pleased by this.

Anddd we’re back to the flirting. Enter girl-with-a-crush, Miss Forensic Scientist who’s been making eyes at Molina throughout the whole series. Camille (not bitchily nor welcomingly) points out that she could’ve emailed the results of the Morel case rather than turn up. The exchange only proves that there are holes in the case, what with the credit card being found far away from the body, especially as they aren’t able to find Dead Nick’s fingerprints anywhere but his tablet. Molina thanks her, and forensic lady casts a satisfactory/smug look at Camille. Camille looks at her back. Oh it’s ON. After the lady leaves, the look screams that she’ll murder her. There could be a Dexteresque spin-off in the making here. The best added layer of humour is Molina’s lack of awareness that both ladies are fighting over him. Or, he does know, and is merely choosing to remain focused on the case in front of him. Oh wait a minute, his eyes flicker up to hers in a “what are you doing?” Some fanservice is going on here, and I for one am cackling like a Disney villain. We’re given another morsel with Molina giving Camille a questioning look when she responds rather flustered to her phone buzzing (it’s the ex again). Because let’s be honest: we need something to drag Molina’s attention away from his brooding. Flags clearly aren’t doing the trick. Let’s throw an actual ex-boyfriend in there. As if by magic, said ex is conjured! He appears like a lovelorn stalker in the parking area of the police station, calling out to her before she gets in the car with Molina. Camille’s look says: now? Why now? Why did you pick this particular moment when I’ve been calling you all those times to get your s***. Fan service shot of Molina looking on with interest. Camille gives the ex the line ‘Did you think I’d come running?’ to make us all punch the air. Girl’s got standards. Ex’s parting shot? Giving the threat in the form of Molina, a threatening stare. Where has this happened before . . . ? Molina gets all cheeky and asks if Camille wanted to get rid of him or the bags, when she says she should’ve gotten rid ages ago. Oh Molina, you rascal.

They finally do a u-bend on the suspicion of Nick after the coroner’s report. Someone wanted him out of the way because he knew who killed Lea. Well duh. But that’s not the big reveal. Florence aborted her child when she found out about Julien’s affair. This family’s getting more and more unhinged. After revealing this hefty information, Florence descends even further into self-destruct mode. She goes on a sort-of date with a colleague. Rose did a Lea and went behind her parents’ back, getting her belly pierced without either knowing. Great job, Rose. It’s infected now. The naughty girl also used her dad’s credit card to pay for it. Molina’s really getting to understand Lea at the moment.

The Morel family are finally waking up to the idea of Chris replacing Lea. Thomas is exceptionally offended that she’s wearing Lea’s top. Florence tries her best to be diplomatic. The only person who’s pleased by the void being filled is Zoe. They’re not going to tell her “no” because she’s a child and it’s her birthday.

RebelCaptain a.k.a. Why I’m Emotionally Ruined by Star Wars Rogue One (Spoilers)

[Re the featured image: don’t they look like a couple there?]

Almost a week after viewing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and I still haven’t gotten over the ending of the standalone film in the Star Wars franchise. RebelCaptain is the explosive ship name for Jyn Erso and Captain Cassian Andor, that is steadily accumulating libations in the name through fanfiction and fanvids. In changing the ending, Disney has snatched away a happy (for once) ending and has chosen to devastate us – it’s not enough that we were forced to watch Alderaan blow up in A New Hope – with the death of the ship.

Jyn and Cassian’s scenes together are so intriguing. One is impulsive, the other is methodical. One is a girl of action, the other observes until the opportune moment. When they clash, not only are their scenes emotionally-charged, there’s also another sort of heat. Even K2-SO picks up on it when he comments on Cassian allowing Jyn to have a blaster. Jyn and Cassian’s lingering looks morph into giddy excitement for the sh**-bomb they’re about to drop on the Empire, and we joined in on the anticipation. Why wouldn’t we? Both have been screwed over by The Man and want justice; now that they’re over the adjustment period, they’re ready to do it as a team.

Alas, the fans have spoken, and RebelCaptain lives once more in our minds and on our screens. Like Hell we’re going to accept that the two are dead. Nope. Absolutely not. Why should we? You can’t make them all cute and adorable and fighting alongside each other like a true power couple to then have them meet their end before they’ve even had a chance to be a couple!

rogue-one Doesn’t this look like a family to you?? Papa, Mama, sassy teenager.

I don’t buy this: they couldn’t survive because they would have to have their absence explained in the Original Trilogy. Firstly: it was decided last minute that Leia would be Luke’s twin sister. Not a lot used to make sense in Star Wars; things just happened. Secondly: Jyn’s father retired (hid) as a farmer when he was done being Empire Scientist. Jyn and Cassian could’ve decided that their purpose was complete: plans were delivered to kick start the end of the Empire and Jyn had reconciled with her father in a way. I could see them retired somewhere. That’s not being a dreamy, stupid fan. That’s a reasonable conclusion. Thus, fanfiction to the rescue.

Don’t tell me to let go I’LL NEVER LET GO.

Star Wars Rogue One (No Spoilers)

Everyone likes a rebellion, don’t they?

I viewed Rogue One believing certain aspects of the storyline, costuming, locales and particular scenes (grenade porn, anyone?) relate to elements of the world today. Freedom fighting or terrorism? Science and technology or ethics? These binaries were certainly appreciated and prevented the film from being a pointless action film reliant on CGI and action sequences. I can safely say that the global mood at the moment is gloomy, unsure and weary, with only those benefitting right now prancing around on a high. The very first Star Wars film achieved nationwide success based on word of mouth before heavy marketing campaigns and social media existed, then creating enough stir to capture the rest of the world. It also helped that the US population was discontent with the war in Vietnam and demonstrated that throughout the 1970s. It may be Christmas 2016, however we’re currently witnessing tragic waves from Syria and other areas of the Middle East which were conjured in my mind when I watched rebels fighting against the Empire. Having said that, the conflict in the Middle East is far more faceted and difficult to draw the lines. Of course, a film doesn’t need to be released during major conflict, and viewers don’t need to bring their own “baggage” if you will, to enjoy it.

Disney has the unenviable task of simultaneously appeasing original Star Wars fans and drawing modern children into the franchise, so they went to great lengths (as did The Force Awakens) to emphasise Rogue One’s link to the Original Trilogy. The Force is maintained as a vital theme, with Donnie Yen’s character Chirrut Îmwe filling the void of Yoda by providing Jedi-related wisdom. Every perilous narrative needs a grounding character who provides serenity in the chaos. Robots still exhibit quirkiness and know it all. Alan Tudyk’s comedic timing as K-2SO was perfect. C3PO can’t be the only sassy (mouthy) android in the galaxy; K-2SO is quite obstinate at times, yet he has more warmth. Yavin 4 comes out of retirement, as does the Death Star. There are some departures from the original films we all love. A sweeping, urgent John Williams soundtrack is noticeably absent, and with little opportunity to emotionally connect with the characters a powerful soundtrack can assist in forcing a few restrained tears. Additionally, there’s less cutesiness in Rogue One that Star Wars usually leans towards to counter the peril. Rogue One is dark, possibly darker than Empire and Force Awakens.

I’ve read a complaint that there wasn’t enough chemistry between Felicity Jones and Diego Luna. I certainly noticed chemistry, only once the plot had developed mid-way. It’s important to remember that their characters exist in uncertain times. They are both guarded and occupied with their own goals: one to rebel against the Empire and the other to locate her father and feel like she has some family in the galaxy. They have to be closed off to each other because they’ve experienced such cr** in their lives respectively that they’re hardly going to start making eyes at each other within minutes of meeting. Any overspilling romantic feeling would overcast the plot; they have a mission and their thoughts centre around it. When the two characters overcome their clashing, they warm to each other and that’s when the lingering looks and charged energy commences. Not every opposites-attract couple are going to be like Han and Leia, and I appreciate the way they handled the pairing.

Problems: the beginning jumps from one location to another which makes the pacing chaotic. The exposition is the most important moment in the film as it makes or breaks audience reception. It takes a while to understand what the hell is going on, especially jerking us away from attaching ourselves to the characters and their individual situations. I do wonder if a novice screenwriter would’ve gotten away with that when soliciting an agent. Rogue One eventually calms down and we’re afforded the chance to get to know characters, but still at some distance. I’m not sure what the purpose of Forrest Whittaker’s character was (apart from his relation to Jyn). I’m also not quite satisfied with the ending: I feel like they were trying to avoid accusations of predictability, yet I still felt like a bit of a presant needed to be thrown my way. Maybe I’m a romantic/too soft; the bittersweet ending was leaning a little heavier on the bitter side.

Alan Tudyk as K-2SO steals the show. Reception of his character was far superior to any other human character. The audience loved him and he provided much-needed humour in such a dark film.

Stray Observations:

  • Someone came into the screening room as a Jawa. You can’t beat that.
  • I feel like I’ve been weaned on the 20th Century Fox logo. I expected it at the opening and it was greatly missed. Although: the opening shot felt like it was harking to the opening shot of A New Hope, so you’re immediately sucked back into the Star Wars universe.
  • In the press and promotion of Rogue One, the cast seems so tight knit, more so than TFA (I feel). They’re just like a family; perhaps because Rogue One is an indie film.
  • God bless Donnie Yen. He was a breath of fresh air; his action sequences rescued the film when it felt like the characters weren’t developed enough at that stage or the scene was floundering. Did it feel like I was watching a Kung Fu film? Hells yeah. Is that a bad thing? Absolutely not.
  • Diego Luna: you’ve earned yourself a new fan.
  • Peter Cushing. Carrie Fisher. That is all.
  • Darth Vader.See above point.
  • Audio. Audio. Audio. Please don’t elevate sound effects and space battles whilst allowing dialogue to be so muted. The actors were at times difficult to understand and I only found out about some of the names when I went onto Wikipedia after the screening. Not great when you’re trying to relate to them.
  • What I was thinking throughout the climax: I can’t wait to see this in Lego.
  • THAT ENDING WITH THE LIGHTSABRE THOUGH (I did promise not to spoil).

Disparue/The Disappearance Episodes 7 and 8- Analysis

Episode 7

THE PENDENT IS IDENTIFIED. This could be the development that puts us in motion of finding out the killer. In typical writer’s fashion we’re still not going to be privy to this information – at least not in the opening of the episode. OK, I was wrong. Two minutes into the episode and they’ve cornered Mr Berti, the racetrack manager. When it’s pointed out that they looked in love when he bought it for Léa, Berti responds with “oh we were just mucking around”. OK . . . strange sense of humour to have between instructor and pupil no? He still maintains that he was in Grenoble; nowhere near her murder. Road trip! Rose sneaks her way onto this trip with her father. Awww father-daughter bonding. All Rose has to do is say that she prefers to spend time with him rather than her friends, at the cinema, and he’s dropped the brood and melted into a satisfied smile. Take note, Camille *ahem*.

Camille is busy questioning Mrs Berti about her husband’s activities and whether he spoke about Lea. A man infatuated is most likely to never stop going on about the object. Mrs Berti plays it cool though. They never discuss work matters at home – clever. How, convenient. Poor Romain is left with multiple truth bombs in terms of photos. Lea had some saucy shots in a hotel room with Berti, both in their nightgowns and kissing! Quel scandale! In one picture Berti’s looking at the camera like he thinks he’s some sort of player. Well, he’s married so technically he is. So, after the way Léa flipped out about Romain’s one-time thing with Chris, she was doing the exact same thing more than once. After confronting Berti about it, Romain takes the evidence to the police. Berti is questioned and Molina drops the pregnancy on him, expecting him to have been keeping it a secret (thus it being the motivation), alas he’s actually shocked. Naturally, hearing that Berti is in custody, Julien once again launches into investigator mode. Only, he pinches the file on Léa’s murder when Camille’s called away. How is he able to get away with all of this? Yes, it’s an interesting way of writing – but still. Julien finds out about Léa’s pregnancy in the worst possible way. It triggers his feelings on Florence’s abortion and he separates from his wife. The children aren’t gluey enough. Molina is way too soft on Julien, admitting he would do the same if he were in his position. OK, but this guy’s numerously obstructed the case; he should at least get a formal warning. Julien’s learned nothing. In fact: he’s turned the restaurant office into a creepy Léa’s-murder den, which Florence doesn’t stumble upon; it’s the friggin’ restaurant office!

Meanwhile, Thomas explodes at Chris for taking over Léa’s life. He doesn’t want to be “like a brother” to her, he wants his sister back. Julien is also contemptible towards Chris, especially when she says she’s not going to England anymore after Léa’s death, having not posted the money. The only people who are happy to have her around, are Zoé and Florence. It’s only when she brazenly dates Romain that you begin to understand Thomas’ anger. Yeup. That’s right. They’re dating as If nothing’s happened. I suppose it’s easy for Romain now, knowing that she was having affairs behind his back.

Mrs Berti admits she checked her husband’s emails because she knew he was having some fun on the side. Léa said she had news and wanted to meet him at a hotel. Could this woman have thumped her for being the mistress/mistress-with-the-bun? She tricked Léa into meeting up so that they could have it out. Despite being in the wrong, Léa acts like a wronged brat. Any remaining sympathies on the audience’s behalf are draining quickly.


Episode 8

So basically, after the previous episode, we’ve worked out Jean was behind the murder somehow. He knows Léa was hit by a brick and that’s something that is only known by those who’ve read the file. He phones Chris who’s waking up from a “fun night” with her dead cousin’s boyfriend, checking up on her. It’s pretty clear who is behind Léa’s death. Now we just await Molina’s ability to close the case. Chris really looks like Romain’s the cream. I suppose it’s all OK now because Léa cheated on Romain. Everything is now OK!

Molina did f*** up the case a little bit, in the sense that he jumped on the Nicholas/Nico bandwagon so mercilessly that he didn’t look for any possibility that he could be innocent. Just in case. Fortunately, his long-suffering girlfriend Elodie kept most of his things, demonstrating a mixture of foresight and denial. It’s up to Camille and Molina to clear his name. Speaking of crappy boyfriends: Jean really is a piece of work isn’t he? He’s been stringing his bit on the side for two years now, going to her place when he needs to “get some” and then pretending she doesn’t exist. Although, a couple of episodes ago, Camille gave her a look that said: what the Hell are you doing with him? Why are you accepting this? You’re asking for it. I agree with all if the above. But the majority of the blame lies with Jean. A**hole. Said A**hole has the police turn up to arrest him, so the truth is underway. Julien tells Thomas not to tell Chris about the arrest as he hurries off. No problem. He hates her anyway.

Jean admits to orchestrating the whole thing. Manoeuvring Léa’s body, getting shot of Jenny the Prostitute, bumping off Dead Nick. Well, there’s 30 minutes of the episode left so this is not the whole story. The sequence of the whole family finding out is eerie. The press’ suggestion that the operation was haphazard is brilliantly shut down by Molina, who uses a journalism analogy about the content of an article being more important than trying to just fill up lines. Like a boss he leaves his supervisor to deal with them further. No love for a man who does what Molina basically criticised; cutting corners.

Chris’ presence in the Morel household continues to get to the men. Disparue 47Thomas is making an effort to be civil at least. Julien, on the other hand, is getting testier by the minute. Florence has to remind him that Chris isn’t taking Léa’s place *snort* and it’s not her fault.

OK. Breathe. There’s a woman with a sparkly top remarking on Molina’s apartment while he’s popping open the champagne. Could this be . . . ? YES. Camille and Molina on a DATE. I called it from the very beginning, and was quite satisfied when I first saw this scene. Fanservice. Yes. Molina finally stopped being a grumpy sourpuss. Well, for now. And, because he’s intent on pulling, he’s showing off his cooking skills having made them his mother’s paella recipe. Camille: you’ve hit the jackpot. Rose is invited to the date, of course. Rose and Camille get on; it’s clear that Molina has a “we come as a package” rule, which any responsible parent does. Although, on their first date? He’s lucky Camille is cool with it. I do love Molina’s reaction to Camille’s impressed look. He’s like: yeah, that’s right. I’m the man. They both ditch Rose when it becomes apparent during their date talk that Jean is covering for someone.

Pesky little Zoé actually serves a purpose other than being by turns cute and irritating. Her insistence on helping herself to anything owned by Léa or Chris has resulted in Florence seizing Chris’ earrings and putting two-and-two together. Her approach towards Chris is filled with tension; Florence’s face is what propels it. It dawns on her why Chris was behind it as she watches Chris merrily dance away in Lea’s room. What we figured out all along: she wanted Léa’s life. All of it. Chris evades capture, losing her life for it. The next scene, like that of the discovery of Léa’s death, is extremely challenging to watch. It’s absolutely heartbreaking that Chris calls Florence “Mum”. Chris has to be one of the first villains (if you may) whom you can really sympathise with. Particularly due to the fact that Léa provokes Chris by taunting her about her dead mother. It just kills off any last feeling for Léa. Yes, Chris inserted herself into the family as Léa’s replacement, however she only did so because she longed for that family unit. Léa, up until this point, has made it quite plain that she was an awful person. Chris’ mind is completely caput. ‘Chris hurt me’ she tells Florence while reaching for her hand. Her death is poignant: both Morel men understand what it is to lose a daughter.

Ahh. But it’s all well that ends well. Camille and Molina flirt their way into Disparue 50the future. The restaurant runs as usual. Florence and Julien make it work for their kids and themselves. Florence’s co-worker blooms in pregnancy. Everyone has their closure.