There were many actors, actresses, aspiring wannabes and aging has-beens who didn't quite fill the theatre. It was only three quater full. Most of them were dressed for comfort and greeted fans like fans you get for free in weddings. Buka-Pakai-Buang-Lupa. You have to understand, they will only be genuinely interested in you when you're a possible executive producer or a vindictive tabloid journalist. (think fat and thin effeminate fashion victims with notepads surgically attached to their wrists). Having to know this, whenever I passed by them, I shook their hands and squeeze the living hell out of those soft mosturised palms. This is like a male equivelant of boob flashing. Oh yes, about the movie....
If you've been reading this blog for quite a while, you'll know that I don't write film reviews. Whylah want to review? It's like listening to a friend telling you the whole plot of a movie that he/she had already watch last night, you'll first ask "Is it good or not?" and when your friend answers Yes you'll clasp your ears and tell them "Don't tell me... I want to watch first!!!"
This is what I will do. I will tell you whether or not Setem is worth your while.
Foxy Malaysian women are magnets of world's rich and talented. Rebecca Loos seduced David Beckham for a quickie in Madrid. Our Bond girl Michelle Yeoh pulled in Jean Todt to promote Malaysia to his rich and powerful friends for Malaysia's Ministry of Tourism. Kabir Bhatia is no different. Hailed from India, he too was married to this country and shared his competence in film directing and screenplay writing to myriad of complacent filmmakers in Malaysia.
He saw that there is potential in Malaysia's dessert-like local film industry and dug a hole to an unexplored oasis. If I were to describe Kabir Bhatia the filmmaker in one word, it would be Competent.
Setem is basically about two con men, an ex-convict, his best friend and a triad leader chasing after a 4 million dollar stamp that dragged in other unexpecting characters like a plain blind guy and his hopeful sister, an extremely honest (and naive) illegal Indonesian immigrant and some other characters that aren't important enough to mention.
The script was original and funny and didn't seem to need any exaggeration or slapstick humour to make it work. The plot was unexpected but the ending was surprisingly dissapointing. You would think that an action-comedy movie has an ending that ties every nook and cranny into a 'Oh, that's why...!" moment but nope, it didn't do that. An entirely different story emerged in the end to pacify the moral of the whole movie and because of that, the movie lost its prior edginess.
Every film director has his/her own style and people who have watched Sepi and Cinta will notice that even when making an action movie, Khabir still sticks to his 'trademark'. His zooming and panning technique that worked marvelously in love dramas didn't quite work in most stagnant scenes in Setem. It made his movie looked like an 1 hour 50 minutes action packed television commercial.
Should you watch it? Yes, you should.
It's funny, entertaining and Competent. For its Competence as a film, you will not complain about the sound mixing, editing and other technical stuff. You will laugh at the extremely funny Sathia, get annoyed with Afdlin Shauki and Rashidi Ishak's Yo Bro Yo Bro, be impressed with Que Haidar's attempt to be blind and be tempted to write your own ending.
All in all, you WILL enjoy yourself.
(I write good reviews no? They should invite me to more film previews. Hehehe...)