Gangsters seem to be the main dish in the Malaysian film industry right now. Almost every movie that came out this last two years has some sort gangster element in it. It might have started with KL Gangster in 2011 which I personally think is a dreadful movie. But regardless it made RM11.74 million at the box office. I am not surprise. The Transformers movies made tons of money worldwide. Let’s not judge a movie by its box-office takings.
So what does a movie about two idiots and the sea has anything to do with the world of gangsters? Everything, especially when the two idiots decided to leave according to them (the idiots) the supposedly unattractive gangster world. Before we start with our main subject, let’s start with Mamat Khalid. Without a doubt Mamat is of the most established film directors in the country right now. Having won the coveted Best Director award at the 21st Malaysian Film Festival, Mamat is known for pushing the boundaries in interpreting his brand of comedies. His best up to date in my opinion are still Kala Malam Bulan Mengambang and Hantu Kak Limah Balik Rumah. The rest are mostly hits and misses.
‘Amir dan Loqman Pergi Ke Laut’ like I said earlier is about two idiots (…err gangsters) who decided that the underworld is not exactly what they want in life. And in order to leave they need to pay the sum of RM30,000 as a ‘getaway’ fee to the organization. That is when the trouble begins.
The problem with this movie is that I find it impossible to root for the main characters as most of the time I find them to be on the annoying side. I don’t get to find out the real reason behind their decision to leave and I hardly find any reason for me to sympathize with their plight. The movie is funny, no doubt about that. The scene at the Chinese funeral parlour is a riot. But still, I cannot find an excuse to side with the idiots (Amir and Loqman that is).
Mamat’s weakness has always been his inability to handle the third act. That’s the case with Rock, Man Laksa and a few others. Man Laksa could have been one of his best works if not for the terrible excuse to end a movie when everything that we’ve seen earlier is merely the main character’s dream. That is the case with this movie as well (though it is not about a dream), the Hamlet-like ending (no spoiler here) is a turn-off of some sort. It worked in Hamlet (of course) but definitely not here.
Amir and Loqman is a black comedy and a violent one too. It is the artist in Mamat Khalid experimenting yet again with his storytelling skills. It worked once upon a time with Kala Malam Bulan Mengambang. But Amir dan Loqman Pergi Ke Laut leaves a lot to be desired. Don’t get me wrong, it is still an entertaining experience for me. It is just not one of Mamat’s best.