Top critical review
on 13 April 2017
The plot course of the first half or so of the film was quickly utterly predictable. Now, many things are in some ways predictable. That in itself is not a reason to kick a film to the curb in itself. But, it was just so depressing, and not in any way or of a type I can enjoy (perhaps some can and do -- I guess some can and do given the positive reviews). The less predictable thing is that at the end of this you expect the film to end after he comes back from war. But of course, he's emotionally raw and tormented so he has to get through that... Fair enough; that makes sense, probably more realistic, if slightly over amped up than the `happily ever after' implied scene. And, yet more depressing. But, in the part following (the second third of it or so) -- which probably gets allocated to `predictable' if you go on to ponder `what's the crappiest way that could bring the remnant of this family back together again?' and realise just how much of the thing is left -- you seem to only tune in to the family when something bad is happening to the family (a father with such convictions that the film is particularly keen to convince you are correct with making him out to be a good stoic guy with his opinions of the Indians, so that when his son/s become ardent to be contrary to them, they can end up being ostracised -- does the writer/filmmakers really believe that someone can be that right and the government that corrupt? that a father should have that little faith in their son to be able to do an ounce of something good? I can't think that they are trying to be intelligent and suggesting that no one is so perfect given the scenes with the alcohol etc) or people are dying. Yet, more depressing. And it's not just as in the passing and natural waning of life depressing. If you want to have the keenness of loss smeared infront of your face for a couple of hours, I'd say this is a fairly good option. But, because of what it covered, and the themes, even if I was in that sort of mood, the style (never been one for this sort of period, Western-esque style films) just would not work for me, personally.
I can only guess that the sentiment they wanted to put forth from this film is `follow your own moral code with courage' the state of how one gets to that not really being indicated and how doing so can lead to a `good death'... Something to do with being stoic? Heck knows. That man shouldn't let them be imposed upon might be one, except there were scenes that indicated the contrary with our all wise courageous father figure -- so perhaps, you shouldn't let yourself be imposed upon unless it is be some elder or God?... *shrugs* Perhaps, it's trying to be intelligent and deep with its coverage, but not quite wrestled itself free from archetypes (as another reviewer suggested seemed somewhat prevalent in places) -- which probably wasn't helped by the wise old Indian accentuating them with simplistic analogies in the instance of the `bear', at least (I quite liked the one about water and ice and the female character -- earlier in the film, also, he husband-to-be referred to her as all that was cold and fluid or something like that). Perhaps it was trying to do too much. Perhaps, it was trying to do nothing. I probably will never know.
Unlike other negative reviewers, I did not find the female suicide that strange. I did however find it unpleasing that she managed to be engaged to all three brothers within one family -- I know she was out of the way and all, but, seriously?!
I don't think I'm any the wiser or any more appeased with having watched this film by writing this review. A friend mentioned this was considered a modern classic, slightly aghast at my complaints regarding the film, I had to look at some reviews.... And then, try to reconcile it by giving one...