I know the movie had bad reviews in the press, but then the press is often harsh on locally produced movies. So despite this, I decided to gather my companions to watch an afternoon at GV, even though the youngs prefer watching Minion (That would really be torturing to me!).
The movie was first touted after the passing of LKY in March, when Lim Kay Tong was hailed as a good choice for the role of LKY. So can you blame us for thinking that the show was about LKY, the man? Don’t be fooled. This movie is like a telemovie that is filmed in a studio, starring Mediacorp star couple Qi Yiwu and wife Joanne Peh.
The story, about the racial riots prior to Singapore’s independence, was a good reminder to how not to take racial harmony for granted, coming in the wake of the incident in neighbouring KL.
Qi Yiwu plays an police inspector, Weng, who was rumoured to ignore the cries of a Malay mother whose young son eventually died in a riot. His own young daughter subsequently went missing and was rumoured to be kidnapped by the Malays, with his kid brother, Seng, joining a gang to plot revenge against the Malays. Joanne Peh plays Seng’s girlfriend, who left China with her father to seek a better life in Singapore. Opposition member Nicole Seah acted as Mei, Inspector Seng’s wife.
Dialogues were spoken in dialects, English, Malay and Mandarin, which is good, until you wonder was Mandarin really spoken as much in 1960s?
There were too many unnecessary scenes of riots, probably adding to the cost of production, when more could have been invested into the relationship of the different races, and how the lack of trust and a sense of insecurity can create fear.
Lim Kay Tong’s role as LKY is totally irrelevant. Why should he be scripted to mimic LKY when past scenes could be played. He had no role in the movie at all. I said mimic because that was what he was required to do, recreate the exact role when LKY announced Singapore’s separation from Malaysia, complete with quivering lips and tears, which brought giggles from the cinema audience.
I like the story line, which made me reflect on our society, where ignorance and group think can break the fragile peace we take for granted now. My niece and aunt was crying along with Joanne Peh as she weeps for Seng. So for some of us, the movie is not that bad.