Friday, 26 August 2011

Film Review: EAST IS EAST (1999)

East is East poster Director: Damien O'Donnell
Running time: 96 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Drama/Comedy
UK Release date: 5th November 1999

Watched on Sky+ Friday 26th August 2011.


I live and work in an area of the UK with a very large Pakistani population and so I thought this film might throw a little light on that community. A lot of people I know are always telling me that this film is really good and a great comedy. Well, even though I don’t ‘get’ a lot of comedies, I thought I’d take a look, and I must say, although it has some amusing moments and some very funny dialogue, it’s not really a comedy. I will tell you why after this brief summary.

east-is-east-2-1 Set in Salford, Manchester in the early 1970’s, this film tells the story of chip shop owner George Kahn, his wife Ella and their children. There are six sons and one daughter, oh, and I should point out that Ella is white and from Manchester. George wants to bring the kids up in the traditional Pakistani manner. Unfortunately for him, they don’t particularly want to be brought up like that. He is insistent though, and goes ahead arranging marriages for his sons without telling them until the very last minute. We get a look into how the youngsters are just typical teenagers/young adults, who just want to be able to have a good time with their friends. The relationships between the various family members are also looked at quite closely, particularly Ella’s relationship with George. I really don’t want to go into too much detail as I’m very wary of giving too much of the plot away (Them Spoiler Police are very strict these days!).

1_midi A very well made British film with some nice insights into a very interesting, and diverse family. The highlight for me was the performances of the main characters, both Om Puri as George Kahn and Linda Bassett as Ella Kahn were excellent. All the kids were very good; Jordan Routledge as Sajid, Archie Panjabi as Meenah, Emil Marwa as Maneer, Chris Bisson as Saleem, Jimi Mistry as Tariq, Raji James as Abdul and Ian Aspinall as Nazir.

F-CTE12594 For me, I thought this film worked much better as a drama; this aspect of the plot brought out the best performances and was much more interesting. I did feel that a lot of opportunities went begging, but I could see that the filmmakers were very wary of causing offence. It was almost like they wanted to make a full-blown comedy, but the, more interesting, story about relationships and family life got in the way. I should mention that there are scenes of domestic violence that some may find distasteful. Having said that, I did quite enjoy this film and I think so long as you’re not expecting a raucous comedy, it’s one I can deem… Recommended.

My Score: 6.6/10.

IMDb Score: 6.7/10 (based on 9,232 votes at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81/100 (based on 31 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

274_4_screenshot FAVOURITE QUOTE:
Mark: Gunga Din! Drinking the white man’s brew!
Fat Twat: What are you doing here, Abdul?
Abdul Khan: It's me stag night. I’m getting’ married.
Mark: Who to?
Abdul Khan: Dunno. Me dad hasn’t bothered introducing us yet.


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