Review: 2 ALAM (2010) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Review: 2 ALAM (2010)

RATING: 0.5/5

Publicity campaign has never been this grossly overhyped for a locally-made movie in the Malaysian film industry. That local movie is 2 ALAM (or "TRANSVERSE" in English). How grossly overhyped for this movie? Let's see -- First-time producer Datuk Dr Rozmey has made public that 2 ALAM which is about a transvestite who commits suicide, would collect RM40 million at the box-office! He even went overboard by making such preposterous announcements via local newspaper that 30 million Malaysians have sworn to watch 2 ALAM when it opens in theaters, which was shown in all 700 screens in the country! If that's not preposterous enough, he also claimed that cinema operators would postpone the blockbuster release of HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1 during the November 2010 release to make way for 2 ALAM instead. And for all the extravagant acclaims desperately trying to generate public interest for this movie, I was really curious about 2 ALAM. Was it really worth the self-proclaimed hype? The answer is a big "NO".

Before I get to the comment, here's the plot about the movie: Both parents, Halimah (Rosnah Johari) and Zainal (Sabree Fadzil) are devastated when they first received a shocking phone call that their son Adam who turned into a transvestite popular singer Amy (Suhaillah Salam), ended up dead for committing suicide. Adam's childhood friend, Ustaz Ishak (Aaron Aziz) is appointed to handle the funeral. Numerous flashbacks take place as we learn Amy and her singer boyfriend Juan Agustin who live together for quite some time. One night Juan is badly beaten by a trio of gangsters while Amy suffered heavy consequences. She ended up being taken away to a secluded place where she is gang-raped by the same trio. Amy is left devastated but she even suffered further humiliation after Juan revealed he has lodged police report for the incident that would cost her reputation as a popular singer. Not only that, Juan is subsequently leaving Amy after he finds out about her sex-changing secret. Amy is ended up so depressed that she decides to take her own life.

At the first glance, Datuk Dr. Rozmey, Hisham B. Ahmad Sebly and Imran Bin Haji Ismail's screenplay has potential. 2 ALAM is clearly aimed to provoke your conscience with its controversial issue of sex-changing matter, the consequences of breaking the Islamic law, and the socially-ill problems (alcohols, committing suicide) addressed in today's society. Unfortunately, the execution is so poorly developed that the movie itself is more of an unintentionally laughing stock than a provocative effort it supposed to be.

First of all, the story is haphazardly written with little character developments while the pace is painfully lethargic. Even with all the moral intentions here, they are depicted at such didactic manner it's like reciting from a textbook. Some scenes are plain ridiculous (e.g. the scene where Juan and Amy first getting harassed by a trio of gangsters) and some are simply questionable as if the movie is heavily tampered by senseless editing. Among them are the pointless montage of Amy's marriage with a English guy in London which actually hardly represent anything to the plot. They are just too many of them I almost lost count.

Secondly, first-time directors Zarith Lokman and Hairie Othman doesn't know how to handle their picture properly. Yet their reckless directions are simply amateurish with so many scenes are badly staged (e.g. the gang-rape scene). And I never seen a movie that used extensive flashback with same old montages so repetitively I begin to suspect either they shoot insufficient footage or the original cut is severely butchered in the editing room. That's not all, the whole movie almost feels like watching a 86-minute music video plagued with (almost) endless soundtrack by Amy Search and Ramli Sarip that are looped over and over again to the point of nausea. Are they actually promoting the movie or the soundtrack? Production values are very poor as well, especially with its extravagant usage of sound effects (amplified wind noise) during strange occurrence takes place during the funeral scene it's like watching a horror movie. For this alone, I find this very laughable. What are the filmmakers wanted to achieve anyway? Everything are just ridiculously schizophrenic.

Last but not least are the bad acting by all the cast here. Even the presence of Aaron Aziz is sadly wasted in a thankless role as Ustaz Ishak who tries all his best to fulfill his duty for completing the funeral. But this movie is supposed to be a breakthrough role for Suhaillah Salam who plays the doomed transvestite. Unfortunately her provocative role is heavily undermined as we hardly learn what makes her turned into transvestite at the first place.

In the end, 2 ALAM is a pure embarrassment. A total insult to the Malaysian movie industry. I have seen bad locally-made movie but this one is clearly the worst local movie so far.

No comments: