Partition Vic Sarin

What a surprise: a bad Canadian film opening in January. Unfortunately, this time the subject (the refugees created by the formation of Pakistan) is a tad more sensitive than the usual, meaning its sorry execution is disgraceful rather than merely tedious.

After some useless set-up with a British-accented Neve Campbell and a strangely benumbed Jimi Mistry (there’s some sadness surrounding the death of the former’s brother and the latter’s WWII comrade), it’s off to the border where fleeing Muslims are massacred by the Indian locals. Fortunately, Mistry is on hand to protect massacre survivor Kristin Kreuk, and complications arise when they not only set up shop in town but also deign to marry. But if you think that’s bad, consider when she goes to Pakistan and mysteriously does not return.

That Kreuk is being asked to play an Indian Muslim should tell you how much of a deck these people are playing with, though to be fair, she gives the only full-bodied performance in the whole thing. Everybody else stands around listlessly rhyming off the unmouthable dialogue (apparently, nobody in India uses contractions) and otherwise cashing a paycheque in an enterprise everybody knows is doomed. This is mostly a soap opera played at the wrong speed, with uselessly turgid situations facilitating whatever limp sensationalism can be had while the white tagalongs look on in condescending sympathy.

There was much laughter at the lazily written lines at my critics’ screening, and it was a good thing too: without the unintentional comedy, I don’t know how we could have made it through. It’s a mystery how the culturecrats can demand so little of the tripe they decide to fund.

(Seville)