Adil, a young Muay Thai kick-boxer, has just fled an honor fight-to-the-death. Ilham, an assassin who is also Adil's stepbrother, is promptly hired by the organizer of the death match to kill the fugitive. Looking for somewhere to hide and recover, Adil and a childhood friend take shelter in the Bunohan boxing club where Adil started his career. Ilham, meanwhile, has never been back to Bunohan since the day he left many years ago. Upon returning, memories of loneliness and abandonment flood his mind, and he experiences waves of resentment and regret. Bakar, the third brother, has also come home from the city; ostensibly a respectful schoolteacher, he is in reality a greedy and ruthless person, and is trying to convince his father to sell a burial ground to a construction company. Written by
It completely blew me away. If you think Malay movies are the sort of mediocre stuff (I wanted to use a much stronger and impolite word) that the likes of David Teo churns out (Mami Jarum, I'm Not Single and all that rubbish), Dain Said represents the other end of the scale. It's been a very long time since I've seen a movie that stays with me for a long time after watching it. Claude Berri's Jean de Florette (though of a completely different genre) was one of those. I'm also getting this terrible urge to watch Bunohan again. This time I'm going to watch it with my wife. I didn't bring her as I thought the violence might be a bit too much but having watched it, I would say its poetic beauty transcends its brutality. The pace is very slow and restless. You're not quite sure what's going on. Or where the movie is heading. Until the very end. And even then you're not quite sure whether you got all of it. It is also steeped in culture. A glimpse of a remote corner of Malaysia that you rarely get to see. Strong performances all round, particularly Faizal Hussein, Zahiril Adzim, Pekin Ibrahim, Tengku Azura and Namron. Even Hushairy Hussin as Jolok, the local sleeze. Dain Said must have clocked in many hours at the repertory cinemas (I recall him saying so in an interview) and the influences certainly show. The last time I felt like this was after seeing Andrei Tarkovsky's The Sacrifice. I'm going for a second viewing.
18 of 19 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?