(nl) wrote: I've been an atheist for, at least, more than half of my life. It's something that, once I hit the age of reason, which would be around your teen years, I decided that religion and the existence of god were incompatible with the world I see around me. While you can never say never in this life, I'm certain that I will never become a born again Christian. There are just too many things in this universe that can kill us, stellar black holes, gamma ray bursts, and solar expansion for one, that it's increasingly difficult to believe that this is all part of an intelligent design. With that out of the way, I was intrigued by this film's premise enough to give it a shot, knowing the fact that, at the end, it was more likely than not going to end up with Kanji finally believing in god. As far as I could tell from this movie, India is a very religious country. Probably due to the vast poverty a lot of people find themselves in that they see their religions as their only form of hope and/or happiness. So it was interesting to see how this film would broach that subject and whether it would really hit hard against religion. While this isn't India's equivalent to a Bill Maher/Richard Dawkins/Christopher Hitchens rant on religion, it still was a pretty ballsy move for, what seems to be, such a conservative country. Essentially, while the film does focus on Kanji's atheism and his insistence that god(s) doesn't exist, the film focuses more on the business side of religion. The side that people like the priests presented in the movie choose to exploit. They exploit people's spiritual needs for their own gain, not actually following the tenets of the gods they all worship. I think the film shines more of a spotlight on the charlatans attached to religion, a man-made thing, than on god(s) not being real. And I suppose that that's the easy way out. You attack religion but not the idea of god and, to me, that's kind of an easy way out to be perfectly honest. Like you're afraid of the backlash if you launch a full-out attack on god. And, to be honest, this was probably written by someone who was disillusioned by people who've used god for their own financial needs and not to help the people that need it most. They build extravagant temples, wear lavish clothes, and they abuse of people's needs. So it was really more an attack on these charlatans as much as it was on the idea of god. With that said, the writing of Kanji is pretty decent because while, being an atheist, and being presented as a hustler at the beginning, he hardly comes across as an unlikable person even in his search for compensation from god for the loss of his shop. He makes a lot of good, rational arguments that even religious people would agree with and he's a charismatic presence. So it was good to see that he wasn't presented as an out-and-out asshole. The film's last act is absolutely preposterous and really does take a bit away from what the film had been trying to achieve. Kanji has a stroke in the middle of the courtroom, which leaves his left side paralyzed, the priests, with help from Kanji's friend and employee, make it so that Kanji is said to actually be god, in order to financially capitalize on his popularity and his standing up for the people who really needed it. It was absolutely ridiculous turn of events. Then again, with the motorcycle scene here, you'll know the one, it shouldn't have surprised me. And, of course, there's the obligatory song and dance scene that is one of the reasons I've consciously avoided many Bollywood films throughout the years. It doesn't even make sense within the context of the film, they say it's part of a festival, but it's bullshit. It serves absolutely no real purpose and the thing is that it takes about 5 minutes of screen time. I realize that may not be much, but it is way too long. Trust me on this one. Particularly when the film could, and should, have been much shorter. It's not as insufferably long as some of these films tend to be. But for this, I think 2 hours is much too long for this type of story. Honestly, I'm not the type of person that's gonna hate a film with religious inclinations, unless it's one of those terrible, preachy Kirk Cameron films, if it's good. The problem with these Kirk Cameron films is the fact that anyone who opposes them is instantly wrong or the enemy. Like God's Not Dead, the main villain is an atheist professor who probably sees the error of his ways at the end and breaks down crying at his "mistakes". At the very least, this film doesn't try to force a religious message down your throat and it presents an atheistic character, for the most part, as reasonable and likable. The ridiculous climax, however, where they literally deify Kanji, really took it down a notch for me. This is average at best. Not good, not bad. The film offers some solid writing and acting and some decent comedic moments. Decent Netflix watch if you've got nothing else to do.
(kr) wrote: Awesome sci-fi film from Roger Corman. The special effects of the x-ray vision are classically cheesy, but the films explores the implications of the technology in a fully in-depth manner. The doc begins by being able to see through objects and, of course, people's clothes. Then, he becomes capable of seeing into people's bodies in order to assess their physical ailments. Ultimately, his super-vision allows Corman to question the nature of morality and the implications of a man who can see into the very heart of existence.