Friday, January 9, 2009

Brick Lane DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Arranged Marriage Is the Subject of Cross-Cultural Drama on DVD

Homely Nazneen (Tannishtha Chatterjee) grew up in Bangladesh experiencing nothing but contentment in her village until the day her parents arranged for her to marry Chanu Ahmed (Satish Kaushik), a man older enough to be her father. Besides their age difference, the Bengali hubby-to-be lives in London, and plans to bring his young bride there where she’ll have to adapt to a culture with which she was totally unfamiliar.
Even though she’d miss her family, especially her sister, Hasina (Zafreen), Nazneen complies out of a sense of religious duty. Afterall, she was raised in a strict Muslim environment where women were taught not to question. But despite the best of intentions, after wasting 16 years in a loveless marriage to her domineering husband she finally gets fed up with being trapped in an East End flat.
By then, she has a couple of equally-discontented daughters (Naeema Begum and Lana Rahman) who infuriate their dad by adopting Western ways such as surfing the internet. Their complaints (“I didn’t ask to be born here!”) fall on his deaf ears, and don’t prevent their sexually-frustrated mom from entertaining the overtures of Karim (Christopher Simpson), a strapping, young hunk who happens to be a religious fanatic with an urgent political agenda.
So unfolds Brick Lane, a cross-cultural cautionary tale, set in the Eighties, which warns of the pitfalls of settling for a soul-strangling relationship. Based on the Monica Ali best seller of the same name, the movie is likely to resonate best with closet feminists inclined to question the constraints of orthodox Islam.
A fascinating character study offering insight into a pressing issue, but unfortunately also the sort of empowerment flick that could get a fatwa issued against Sarah Gavron, the intrepid director daring enough to make the picture.

Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for profanity and sexuality.
Running time: 102 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
DVD Extras: Deleted scenes, three interviews, commentaries and a featurette.

To see a trailer for Brick Lane, visit:

No comments: