Cinematic Discoveries: A fine concoction followed by an uncanny account

|| Magnolia ||

When it rains, it pours.

It’s a movie that captures snippets from lives of nine almost unrelated people linked together by a quiz show – What Do Kids Know – where three kids contest against three adults for prize money. The movie tells the tale of the producer of the show who is on his death bed, his trophy wife who married for money, cheated, and is now in love, and is popping pills, his nurse who is asked to search for the producer’s abandoned son. The abandoned son (Tom Cruise in a ridiculous hairstyle, btw) who teaches men how to seduce women and then leave them, the presenter of the quiz show who molested his daughter, the daughter who snorts coke all day long and then again at night, the cop who comes to check on her and falls for her, a young genius contestant of the quiz show who is trying to break a record on the show. And, the man who set this record as a kid.

The characters are intriguing and very well carved. All actors, each one of them, are brilliant in their own way. The movie has solid subtext where one keeps trying to figure out what is happening for the first 20 minutes or so. And then, one just sits back and watches. Most of the characters do not cross each other’s path but the stories are so well balanced…like the director were this juggler who manages to keep all nine balls in the air for the entire length of the show.

It’s a well-told tale of guilt, coincidences, search for happiness and, probably, for meaning of life. And it rains frogs! Go figure.

||12 Monkeys||

Where future meets history

It's 2035, only 1% of the population has survived a ghastly plague and is now living underground. The scientists force one of the survivors to volunteer to go back in time and gather information about the origin of this plague. Only they send him a little too back in time, where he tries searching for the army of 12 monkeys who spread this plague. The volunteer finds himself in a mental institution where he meets a hot psychiatrist, with whose help he finds the army of 12 monkeys. By then, he is wanted by the authorities for kidnapping, murder, and whatnot. He can escape all this by going back to the future, only he doesn’t want to. Because now, he is in love with the psychiatrist.

The outlandish story is told in a very bizarre fashion and delivered superbly by the actors. The story has more essence than what I just mentioned. It crosses the thin line of sanity at places but does it so subtly, that one is caught off guard. There is a part where you begin to doubt the protagonist’s sanity and think the whole movie as a figment of his wild imagination. And then half way through the movie, intricate details and information is revealed to make you believe. And believe you do! But it is the last 15 minutes when the movie hits you hard and you understand the twist of the tale. Another tale, very well told.

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