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Movie Review: Before the Rains

Alternate Title: Fatal Attraction

Story: So what went wrong in the making of this lush, visually splendid film? The ingredients were all in order. There was a good cast, an interesting, albeit, not original story and beautiful scenery. Perhaps the blame is firmly at the hand of director, Santosh Sivan (The Terrorist) and the screenplay by Cathy Rabin. The story was based on Israeli film maker, Dany Verete's film The Desert Trilogy: Yellow Asphalt. The passion between the characters was edited out or never existed. They all played their two dimensional roles well, but there was just no there, there.

The setting is 1937, Kerala, India. The Indian resistance to British Colonialism is rising but young Henry Moores wants to build a road up the mountain to get those much desired spices to market and prove his worth to his English father-in-law. He seems oblivious or indifferent to the consequences of engaging in an affair with a young married Indian woman who works on his plantation. As soon as he makes a gift of a handgun to his faithful Indian side kick you know things are going to go terribly wrong. And they do. Enter the English wife and son, the angry Indian husband, tribal tradition and the film quickly becomes a film about moral dilemmas, decency and honor - but you have seen it all before.

It had lots of promise. But the essential spice was missing. The trailer is all you need to see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q37yxRpKzx0

Acting: Linus Roache, who now plays Michael Cutter on Law & Order - who knew he was English? as Moores was just fine. Rahul Bose, Nandita Das, Jennifer Ehle and John Standing were all fine in their roles - they just had no zip.

Predilection: I like 'all things Indian.'

Critters: It is India so there are lots of critters. A frog, bees, an elephant, dragon flies, a dog, birds and of course, cows.

Sex Spectrum: The one sex scene was filmed sensitively and looked more like a commercial for shampoo or perfume.

Opening Titles: Type superimposed over the lush landscape of Kerala, India.

Visual Art: You can have no qualms about the stunning landscape and the attention to detail of India in the '30's.

Theater Audience: We were in the balcony of the Paris Theater with a few other people. I do not know how many were downstairs but the ladies room was of course crowded as we exited the theater.

Weather: Lovely before the rains.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: Watching a woman being beat up is always squirmy.

Drift Factor: I started to look at my watch after only 30 minutes.

Predictability Level: Over the top.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine. Try any of the other wonderful films that were also produced by the team of Merchant Ivory or any film by Mira Nair and you would have a better show.

Length: Long at 100 minutes.