Monthly Archives: January 2013

Movie Review: Midnight’s Children

I have mixed feelings about this movie; the first two thirds were very good then the film lost its way in my opinion. The first part is the backstory of a well to do Indian family covering the years from 1918 to 1947. I liked the charming depiction of the family and the social and cultural conventions which constrain their life.  The central event is the birth in Bombay of a boy to this family at the exact moment India and Pakistan achieve independence in August 1947. For not very convincing reasons the boy is swapped shortly after birth with the new-born son of an impoverished street musician. The next stage of the film follows the boys’ growth over the next 18 years.  I enjoyed the descriptions of Indian and Pakistani life in this part of the film.  An element of fantasy is introduced into the story: all children born at that midnight hour of independence possess some supernatural power. From time to time they communicate with one another in dream like scenes. At this stage these fantasy scenes are incidental and add to the charm of the film.

A turning point is the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war which leaves the protagonist in a seven year coma. The hero partially recovers, is parachuted into Bangladesh during its war of independence and from this point the midnight children take over.  The remaining scenes are rushed and confused; it’s no longer possible to distinguish between reality and fantasy. Salman Rushdie is clearly no fan of Indira Gandhi who is portrayed as an evil comic cartoon character. The film ends back in Bombay at the 30th Independence anniversary celebrations. I haven’t read the book and it’s possible that the fantasy aspects of the film work better in print. Overall 3 stars.

Book Review: The Girl Who Played with Fire

This book, the second in the Millenium trilogy, was not as good as the first  (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).  The faults in the first book are there in the second, only amplified.  Again the build up is very slow, but in TGWPWF it wasn’t until half way that I got hooked. Furthermore much of the first half of the book isn’t really relevant to the story and could have been cut to a few pages. Many of the descriptions throughout the book are just too verbose; the Apple computers and IKEA furniture for example.

The TGWPWF is more of a thriller rather than a mystery and we learn a lot about Lizbeth Salander’s past and how that accounts for her personality. Salander is by far the most interesting character in the book. However while I found her hacking skills and attitudes to authority believable, her superhuman fighting skills just weren’t credible. There is a vulnerable side to Salander and I found the superwoman aspect at odds with that.  Still a good read if you can hang in for the first half. 3 stars.