The LadyDirector: Luc Besson, Roadshow Film Distributors, Rated M, 132 mins
The biographical drama of an iconic political figure and Nobel Peace Prize winner - Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi - is brilliantly portrayed by Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) in Luc Besson’s epic production.
The Lady tells the remarkable but unfinished story of Aung San Suu Kyi, her enormous family sacrifices and tireless struggle for democracy in her country which continues even today.
It also depicts her extraordinary love for her English born husband Michael Aris (Harry Potter’s David Thewlis), of their devotion and understanding as a result of prolonged separations imposed by a hostile regime and their enduring love until Michael’s death while Suu Kyi is held under house arrest.
In his superbly directed biography Besson (The Fifth Element) opens his movie with the shocking assassination of Suu Kyi’s father, a political leader and leading light for democracy in post World War 2 Burma.
Years later, while living in England with her academic husband Michael and two teenage sons, Suu Kyi learns of her mother’s stroke which compels her to travel to Burma to take care of her.
During her stay she witnesses the brutality of the Burmese regime and becomes involved in the protestors’ rallies. Like her assassinated father, Suu Kyi is popular with the people and soon takes on the mantle of leader of the pro-democracy movement.
Besson’s inspiring movie provides an incredible insight into Aung San Suu Kyi’s personal and political life, with one of the major highlights being Yeoh’s stand-out performance of the Burmese leader (not to mention displaying physical similarities and mannerisms to the real Aung San Suu ) as well as that of Thewlis playing her devoted husband.
One of the most moving moments of the movie is where the son of Suu Kyi provides the acceptance speech at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony which Suu Kyi is prevented from attending.
Despite depicting only some 20 years of Aung San Suu Kyi’s significant story, Besson’s poignant production stands as a testament to an outstanding human being besides ensuring that this is one movie not to be missed.
VIC'S VERDICT: 4 ½ Rubber Stamps
Wish You Were HereDirector: Kieran Darcy-Smith, Hopscotch Films, Rated MA, 89 mins
Aussie actor Kieran Darcy-Smith (The Reef) makes his directorial debut with his first Australian film, a mystery thriller that begins with four friends enjoying a holiday in Cambodia that ends up with one not returning home.
Within the foursome there is a married couple, a pregnant Alice (Felicity Price - TV series Rescue Special Ops) and her husband Dave (Joel Edgerton - Animal Kingdom) as well as Alice’s sister Steph (Teresa Palmer - I Am Number Four) and her new boyfriend Jeremy (Antony Starr - TV Series Rush).
All are seen having a good time visiting various tourist attractions but one night after a boozy beach party, with Dave becoming more intoxicated than the rest, Jeremy disappears.
After returning to Sydney and with Steph clearly upset over Jeremy’s disappearance, the matter is reported to the police who become suspicious about his whereabouts when Dave appears to be avoiding the police interrogation.
It is only through flashbacks that one learns more about what happened on that fatal night including Dave’s indiscretion with Steph, later telling an angry Alice that nothing happened as they were both drunk. But more is to come out after Dave’s guilty conscious forces him to reveal the mysterious disappearance of Jeremy and his implicit involvement.
Even though Edgerton delivers a credible portrayal of the holiday happy Aussie, it is not as good as his performance in Animal Kingdom.
Despite the colourful settings and a reasonable storyline, Darcy-Smith’s plot seems somewhat unconvincing as is his conclusion making it clear that some may not want to Wish You Were Here.
VIC'S VERDICT: 2 ½ Rubber Stamps
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