Wednesday, May 29, 2013

KIL [2013]

Director: Nik Amir Mustapha
Writer(s): Nik Amir Mustapha, Rewan Ishak, Khairulzaman Dzulkifly
Starring: Redza Minhat, Cristina Suzanne Stockstill, Hasnul Rahmat, Harun Salim Bachik
Genre: Drama
Rating: General
Verdict: "It's more hypnotic than poignant, but if it succeeds in getting you under its spell, you'd barely notice its pace, which could be trying for some..."

Synopsis
Akil (Redza Minhat) couldn't make up his mind which is more painful; to live, or to die. He puts up a front whenever he could, but try as he might to live a normal life, memories haunt him relentlessly. Not long after his latest attempt to kill himself, he chances upon an agency that specialises in a different brand of euthanasia; they kill suicidal people who couldn't get the job done themselves, just like Akil - he is now ready to die. What he does not count on, however, is for Zara (Cristina Suzanne) to come into his life and reignite a spark that had long faded away. He starts to warm up to the idea of giving life another chance, but it might just be too late.

What to Expect
1. A feel-good movie about a suicidal man
2. Think Garden State meets Seven Pounds
3. Hypnotic
4. Made with meticulous care
5. *Arguably trying pace

What NOT to Expect
1. An art film
2. A textbook and in-your-face MPDG
A tad shy from perfect
Review
Every now and then I'd make a prediction as to how people will receive a movie, and what are they going to say about it. As for KIL, I say there's going to be a lil' debate about whether or not it's an "art film". Granted, you don't have to be Nostradamus to see that one coming, but if it happens, it will be interesting because it marks a new beginning of how Malaysians view movies. Even if such a debate will be drowned by whatever's written in the weekend gossip column.

Yes, to my knowledge, Cristina is currently single and not affiliated with any Datuks
Or maybe I'm just a lil' ambitious.

But anyway, if you want my opinion, KIL is not an art film (more on this in a minute). There are artistic elements in it, sure. But Mulholland Drive [2001] it is not (I still have no idea what that movie's about). The reason you might be inclined to think of it as an art film is due to how the market's just saturated with films slapped together for a quick buck, it's much too easy to forget that movies aren't supposed to be substance-free or a holocaust for brain cells.

Gambar Hiasan
In other words, movies that got made strictly for business purposes, as opposed to putting on a show and then make business out of it. Hence the term, "show business"; where priority goes to putting on a show. And it has gotten to a point where a film can be considered artistic even when it's just doing what a movie is supposed to be doing.

Now I'm not conveniently forgetting movies like Songlap [2011]. To be fair, there have been many good local movies released in recent years. It's just that most of 'em kinda faded into obscurity - save for the ones that caught international attention. Because in Malaysia, you have to win awards abroad first before they'll recognise you here.

Gambar Hiasan
I guess what I'm trying to say is, KIL is anything but a hack job, not to mention that it couldn't have come at a better time because I could use a movie that's modest for a change. It was made with a lot of passion, yet it wasn't self-indulgent. It told a simple story, but the presentation was such that I ended up mesmerised by what I saw on screen. Like hypnosis. It's an audiovisual thing, so I'm afraid I wouldn't do it justice if I were to put it down into words.

Some might argue that the pace could have been tightened up a notch. I considered it, and decided soon after that I wouldn't have it any other way because KIL is a story that needed to be told like the soothing voice of a psychiatrist; if it's too abrupt, it will snap you out of your trance. If it's too slow, and you'll end up snoring. It's not perfect, but the production team did what they could, and at this point it's kinda out of their hands.

Now it's more of a matter of preference on the audience's part.


If you're anything like me, you might feel a little concerned about watching a movie about a suicidal man. Well, I did mention Seven Pounds up there, which is the kind of movie I could only see once because it was just painful to watch... But in a good way. You feel the pain of Will Smith's character, which in turn makes the ending so poignant.

KIL, on the other hand, took on a different approach. Suicidal Akil may be, but the movie was somewhat a cheerful shade of blue. No, I'm not referring to the "colour" of the movie, I'm talking about the overall feel of it. Again, it's all about the feel and the tone of the movie, which I don't have the vocabulary to describe. But simply put, KIL is not about looking for a reason to die. It's about looking for reasons to celebrate life.


If you ask me, the movie achieved what it set out to do, and that is to tell a feel-good story about a suicidal man without the concerns of a bigger-budgeted production. So head on over to the cinema near you this May 30th, 2013, to see the movie that got Mamü hypnotised. Perhaps drop me a line here too whether or not you agree with this review.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

nice review man. one question . is this the kind of movie that requires multiple viewings to understand the plot like Bunohan?

Mamü Miguel Ellezda Vies said...

Not at all. There are room for debates, sure. But it's pretty straightforward and not at all convoluted like Bunohan.

The Malaysian Diarist said...

I am so glad you reviewed this one, I am on the fence about it. You did mention the pacing of it, so that might be an issue with me. Plus since you're comparing it with seven pounds, that movie made ME suicidal. I never picked it up again not because it was a bad movie but because it really affected me in a big way, emotionally and mentally.

For the record, Mulholland Drive is still a mystery to me too hehe.

Mamü Miguel Ellezda Vies said...

But it's more Garden State than Seven Pounds, really.

I only mentioned Seven Pounds for people to get the feel of the protagonist. As far as impacts go, you won't be affected in the same way with KIL as you were with Seven Pounds. Not even close, me thinks.

KIL went for something else entirely. Above all, it's just a nice movie.

Give it a shot, then we can talk about it here :)

The Malaysian Diarist said...

I finally got to watching KIL and gosh...it's part of my DVD collection now.

It's beautifully made, and I admit that the pace at times is slow...I had very low expectations (which I think helps)because the movie surprised me.

The two lead characters were easy to connect with. I actually cared about them and their relationship.

And I admit, the "twist" at the end....nearly made my heart stop! I don't wanna give away spoilers.

For a movie with such a bleak premise...it ended up being about hope and as you said a reason to celebrate life. We really need more movies that are out of the box like this one.

thank you mamu for reviewing it. I am glad I didn't miss out on such an unexpected gem.

Mamü Miguel Ellezda Vies said...

Good to hear, mate! :D

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