It’s been announced again and again not only by film creators, makers and writers but the audience who went to support these locally made films in the cinema that 2018 is truly the best year for Malaysian films.
There is a shift in the subject matter taken as premises for movies being more controversial yet refreshing among the usual horror, comedy and romance that’s been the genre that the industry has been limited to when it comes to mainstream movies.
This year we’re seeing a merge of genres in a single movie like crime-thriller, drama-comedy, action-thriller and horror-comedy with releases that have been audibly celebrated and reviewed by many already claiming what the movie of the year is. We also can’t deny the urge to name some of the best movies premiered this year so we’re giving you our top 5 personally curated choices that are the highlight of the golden year.
#5: ‘Polis Evo 2’ & ‘7ujuh’
It’s a tie between the surprising sequel and the haunting horror set in the 70’s. Polis Evo 2, an action and crime-thriller giving a cinematic portrayal on the concern on terrorism is further alienated from the predictable and vain action mainstream movies with the creation of a religiously extreme villain opposing the main characters who themselves questioned on their own duty and belief as policemen.
While 7ujuh distanced itself from the gore and focused on the more traditional horror of sketching a sympathetic phantom who terrorises the characters mainly because of the consequences of their crime and wrongdoing. There is also the detail in the colour filter and sound editing that creates an environment of uneasiness for the audience watching especially when the plot-twist is discerning.
#4: ‘Crossroads: One Two Jaga’
Watching the film in the cinema somehow felt dangerous and wrong what with the topic that is bared from the opening with the introduction of slums that housed illegal immigrants and the very dialogue that casually discussed the local authorities’ position in the rampancy of migrants.
It’s one of those movies filmed within the Malaysian territories that made you wonder how it could be given the opportunity to be screened in the first place. However, the decision to allow the movie to be premiered is much appreciated because of the shocking revelation unfold about the fictional lives of corrupted police and powerful yet faceless “people from upstairs” that is not far from our own reality.
#3: ‘Orang Itu’
Low Ngai Yuen‘s film about a vital issue in the concrete heart of Kuala Lumpur centering on a simple story about the very world that lies just a few centimeters under us where the homeless shelter on benches and cardboard boxes and beneath bridges.
A movie made in conjunction of a campaign to elevate the awareness on providing accessible health care, Orang Itu starring the reputable Sofia Jane doesn’t only rely on the performance and script but also personified the camera as an individual looking into the lives of the characters hence, giving a humane filter to the screen.
A film that has raised as if from the dusts after its release was delayed for almost 12 years and went through a silence made worse by pirated copies of the movie. Director, Dain Said not only brought forth a rare attempt of overcoming expectations to a film made over a decade ago but Dukun has become a timeless horror-thriller.
A narrative filled with witty dialogue and iconic cinematography (by Yuk Hoy Cheong) that focuses on the symbolism, architecture and eerie yet sexually driven close-ups of actress, Datin Seri Umie Aida.
An aesthetic film that cultivates on the straining relationship of two brothers influenced by a familial economic crisis. Written and directed by Quek Shio Chuan, this debut feature of his is based on his own brother who not only lives with autism but is also gifted with having perfect pitch thus, becomes the inspirational backbone of the story, the characters and the unique sound mixing of the movie.
Not forgetting the vast great local movies this year ranging from sequels, adaptations and independent productions, we want to still value their stories by presenting them in our list such as Mencari Rahmat (by Al Jafree Md Yusop) that is a comedic social commentary adapted from the Oscar Wilde‘s play, The Importance of Being Eearnest and revised for the Malaysian audience.
The audience’s favourite and critically acclaimed, PASKAL is also worth mentioning for director, Adrian Teh‘s eye in capturing action sequences that are still leveled with believable suspense and cinematography that goes beyond only lingering drone shots. With the lighter genre, Hantu Kak Limah by Mamat Khalid is an anticipated sequel bringing back the director’s idiosyncratic flair with comedy and horror that also anchors on the present societal views and atypical lives of folks living in villages and small towns.
With 2018’s red curtain coming down on film releases, here’s to seeing more original writing and bold film-making by the industry players and also to the expansion on the very narrow perspective that the majority of film goers have with regards to local movies with the hope that they will purchase tickets and watch them in the cinema halls. Are your favourite movies not in the list? Give us your recommendations!
Featured Image source: Guang The Movie website.