Thursday, May 22, 2008

Before The Rains

A series of domestic disasters propelled me to the theater for a late night showing of Before The Rains.

Two words: Merchant-Ivory

Or is that one hyphenated word?

In any event, this is the story of Brit Henry Moores (Linus Roache, now seen weekly doing an American accent on "Law & Order) and Indian T.K. (Indian actor Rahul Bose) as they plan to build a road up a mountain that will give them access to teas and spices.

Only challenge? They have to get it done before the rains.

Oh, if only. Wouldn't that be an exciting movie? All the engineering challenges and time pressures to finish the road before the monsoon season! And, in fairness, that is the context in which the story takes place, and it does provide what suspense the movie has.

But the main problem is that Moores has, eh, dickitusinthewrongplaceitus. In this case, his house servant is the lovely Sajani (played by the lovely Nandita Das) and she's quite a temptation. Not that we get any impression Moores was inclined to resist.

Of course, she's married, he's married and, it goes without saying, that's way more risky for her than for him.

This is all done against the backdrop of 1937, with India's burgeoning revolution from Britain.

Sounds better than it actually plays out. It never really grips you. The suspense never really cranks up, and in some sense it seems as though the director is hard on the British, even while the British have far less savage practices as far as handling adultery.

I don't know quite what it was but I asked the Boy and he said. "It was okay. It didn't provide you with any context so that you could get into it."

Interesting. Neither of us got into it. The Boy felt it was lack of context--perhaps so.

What was funny was that he added, "I'm such an economics geek that I was really interested in the road and the spices, and the use of elephants..."

Yeah, me, too. I wanted to see that movie. But then, that's why I prefer straight-up fiction to historical drama.


  1. The you read about the investor who is suing to get her money back saying they ripped her off big time? I forget the details but she had a lot of bad things to say about these guys.

  2. I remember something about the case but haven't heard about it recently.

    Their filmography is full of features that I vaguely meant to see at some point. This may be the first Merchant-Ivory film I've ever seen, in fact.

    I remember thinking A Room With A View was good but I think I have it mixed up with Enchanted April.

  3. I don't like movies without aliens or cheerleaders or big explosions or cyborgs or monsters or John Wayne. So I really don't like Merchant Ivory movies. Unless I want to sleep.


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