21 August 2005 | jz-10
One of the best TV movies ever
This is enjoyable in every way. Ravi Sheth is tremendous as Kim, the street urchin-turned spy. All departures from Kipling's book are changes for the better--for instance, here, Kim is conflicted by the Irish side of his heritage and angrily resists the British forcing him into school. In Kipling's novel, Kim couldn't wait to rub his "sahib" status into the faces of his friends on the street.
Kim's transformation from homeless beggar to Secret Service agent is very well depicted, and so is his devotion to the gentle lama who is quite helpless on the mean streets of India.
The only significant flaws are in the casting of very non-Indian actors as the Lama, Mahbub Ali, and Babu. John Rhys-Davis is decent as Babu, but unfortunately, it's Peter O'Toole who is by far the worst fault of the film. His makeup is awful and his exaggerated doddering mannerisms are absurd, and anyone who's had any acquaintance with Tibetan Buddhism knows his costume is atrociously inauthentic as well. In addition, some of the scene changes are also difficult to follow. Yet overall, the movie works, and works very well.
This story is human, amusing, exciting, and heartwarming. The "friend of all the world" will delight you.