Review: CUAK (2014) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Review: CUAK (2014)

A patchy but unique and thought-provoking local indie movie about love, commitment, relationship and uncertainty.

When comes to multiple directors collaborating together in one movie, they usually settled as an anthology (which is actually a collection of short stories). But CUAK tries to be different than the usual ones that you might come to expect. Instead of showcasing a few short stories separately within one movie, CUAK is uniquely combined together in one seamless form directed by five different directors (Khairil M Bahar, Shamaine Othman, Tony Pietra Arjuna, Manesh Nesaratnam and Lim Benji).

Adam (Ghafir Akbar) is about to perform the "akad nikah" (solemnisation ceremony) with his fiancee, Brenda (Dawn Cheong) and he is very nervous about it. Soon he begins to recall various incidents that includes dealing with his friends (Gavin Yap, Abdul Qahar Aqilah, Iedil Putra and Ash Nair) who almost gives him a second thought about his marriage to Brenda; insane in-laws (Patrick Teoh, Chae Lian Dong and Bernie Chan) at which he has to go through a series of "test" to see whether he's qualified to marry their precious daughter, Brenda; a suspicious stepbrother Mikael (Tony Eusoff) who doesn't seems to be agreed about Adam's proposed marriage to Brenda; and lastly Adam's problem with his ex-girlfriend Nurul (Ani Juliana Ibrahim) that leads to a painful breakup.
Thanks to the multi-talented Khairil M Bahar's brilliant editing, the movie feels more intriguing in the way where the five directors' narrative styles intertwined one after another in a non-chronological order.

Most of the ensemble cast here are top notch. As two lead actors that anchors the entire movie, both Ghafir Akbar and Dawn Cheong deliver great chemistry together. Ani Juliana Ibrahim also gives a standout performance here as Adam's estranged ex-girlfriend, Nurul while Tony Eusoff is perfectly typecast as the moody-looking Mikael.

I was particularly mesmerized with Shamaine Othman's stirring segment of "The Couple". Here, Adam and Brenda are arguing against each other over a religious issue. It's the kind of controversial topic that we rarely get to see in a local cinema. Although we have to deal with some censorship during that provocative conversation, it's a powerful scene nonetheless.

At nearly two-hour long, not all segments within the movie works well against each other. Such segments, including Manesh Nesaratnam's segment of "Consent" which sees Adam dealing with his in-laws, doesn't feel as funny as I thought. Let's just say the comedy does feel forceful at times. Another one is Tony Pietra Arjuna's segment of "Issues", which revolves around Adam's half-brother Mikael (Tony Eusoff) in an unnecessarily long-winded subplot about his personal agenda as a customs officer.

Although CUAK may have been an uneven effort, this local indie movie is nevertheless worth checking out for.

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