Friday, July 23, 2010

Film: "A Wednesday"

The other film I saw in the Indian Film Festival of Ireland was A Wednesday. It is a completely different kettle of fish, being a straight thriller with no song and dance routines. Its framing device is Mumbai's retiring police commissioner thinking back on his most difficult case, one so sensitive that it has no file and does not officially exist. Then it is flashback time. The plot involves this mysterious guy who has planted a load of bombs around the city. He is threatening to explode them unless a group Islamic extremist terrorists are brought from jail to a certain disused air base, presumably from there to be flown off to Pakistan (most of the terrorists are former agents of the ISI, Pakistan's notoriously dodgo intelligence service).

The film starts off normally enough, following the usual routes you expect in this kind of film. So you get lots of people running around, lots of shouting down telephones, lots of racing against the clock to track down leads and so on. But then it undergoes a bit of a twisteroo – it turns out that the bomber is not planning to free the terrorists, but to kill them. He reveals himself to be just some ordinary guy who has had enough of these terrorist scum and all that due process crap that allows them lengthy trials and then prison sentences, when everyone knows that what they really need is instant justice. Rather disturbingly, the film endorses this fascistic worldview – to placate the bomber, the police commissioner orders his men to murder a terrorist, and the film ends with him shaking the bomber's hand.

One other lesson this film offers is that you do not ever want to find yourself on the wrong side of the Mumbai police force. Beating the shite out of suspects to extract information seems to be a standard operating procedure.

An inuit panda production

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