15 March 2013 | tim-764-291856
Well Played Drama
Currently on Sky Movies Premier, I thought I'd give this a try.
At first I found the time and setting rather manipulative and possibly distasteful - why bring back yet more flashbacks and memories of 9/11 - and just for the sake of a rather mawkish drama.
A Muslim Pakistani taxi driver sends his ten year old to LA on a plane, on Sept 11. He also works in a restaurant at the Top of the World Trade Centre. A fed-up mature air steward who has a habit of speaking her mind gets stuck with the boy when the plane is emergency grounded after the attacks. She then attempts to try and connect the boy with his father - and connect with the kid herself, but culture and religious clashes hinder at every turn.
There's a load of implausibilities to contend with too and writer/director Travis Fine mixes every modern directorial cliché in the book at it. The ten year old Pakistani boy is typically precocious, doesn't eat meat, ice-cream or anything 'normal' at all. He's also a right clever little person.
But holding it together is the great performance by Melissa Leo, who won an Oscar for best supporting actress in The Fighter, 2010. Almost too predictably, she's hard drinking, scornful, rough round the edges and bitter. She's strangely unaffected by her country being sent into turmoil and chaos. Chuck these human flaws around a Muslim ten year old with naive and hopelessly idealistic attitudes and it's a recipe for conflict, anger and yes, tenderness. In my view, these are the reasons to watch this movie.
These aspects and the road movie elements remind me of Walter Salle's Brazilian 'Central Station' but that is a FAR better movie in every respect.
I wouldn't have normally watched this movie given its subject and type and I'm still in two minds as to whether it was worth my time. It's not all bad, by quite a way but will fall under most people's radar - and understandably so.