Raindance 2013 line-up announced

But did they make a mistake in putting Julian Assange on their jury?

Review: Ain't Them Bodies Saints

Rooney Mara is fantastic in this delicate, sun-soaked Western

Review: About Time

Ever since I was a boy, I always wondered about voice-overs...

Film review: Wadjda

Every now and then, a film comes along that changes the world. Sometimes, you don't even realise it's doing it.

World War H – or hate’s not all that

What do Shyamalan, World War Z and Man of Steel have in common? Hype - and hate.

https://i-flicks.net/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/222186raindance.jpg https://i-flicks.net/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/289307aint_them.jpg https://i-flicks.net/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/600165about_time__1_.jpg https://i-flicks.net/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/276452wadjda_top.jpg https://i-flicks.net/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/783758world_war_h.jpg

Star Ratings

Well good


iFlicks on Twitter

Home Reviews LFF 2012 Reviews London Film Festival Review: Midnight's Children
London Film Festival Review: Midnight's Children Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Monday, 15 October 2012 09:10
Director: Deepa Mehta
Cast: Satya Bhabha, Shriya Saran

Midnight’s Children is one of those books that has long been considered unfilmable. It turns out with very good reason. Deepa Mehta’s adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s literary classic takes the text, full of symbolism, fantasy and political allegory, and turns it into one big sprawling epic about… well, almost nothing.

We begin, eventually, with the birth of Saleem (Bhabha) on the stroke of midnight, just as India achieves its independence. Swapped with another child by a socialist nanny, he ends up with a poor beggar family, while a boy with nothing is raised in his place by his well-off parents. We then wait for two hours for this life-changing act to affect the plot. It doesn't.

Along the way, we learn that Saleem and all the other children born at midnight that evening have developed special powers. Saleem can call them all together, by magic, although he never quite goes the full Charles Xavier route – if it’s one thing this lengthy epic is missing, it’s a child with retractable metal claws in his hands.

Of course, the source text has more depth than Marvel’s X-Men – and Mehta enjoys exploring them with a rich tapestry of colours and exotic cinematography – but Rushdie’s script doesn’t know when to stop piling it on. He’s a master of magical realism on the page, but he’s apparently not so suited to the screen. We end up with a boring 150-minute piece that regurgitates the novel in bite-sized chunks. Much like Love in the Time of Cholera, this isn't a film, this a cinematic version of York Notes.

And so it falls to Satya Bhabha to keep us engaged. He’s a likeable screen presence, while a cute prologue about his parents sees some equally strong supporting turns, but no matter how earnest and well-intentioned Midnight’s Children is, it misses the boat completely. Maybe X-Men wouldn’t have been such a bad idea after all.