Shuttle Life- A Hard Hitting Pukka Drama

OM DCOSTA | 28 November 2017 16:30 IST

Rating- 4.5/5 Shuttle Life is an powerful Malaysian drama directed by Tan Seng Kiat, and it shows how a Malay man, Qiang (Jack Tan) struggles to make ends meet while taking care of his mentally unstable mother Li Jun (Sylvia Chang) and his 5 yr old sister Hui Shan (Angel Chan).

The narrative of the film is simple, but extremely compelling and realistic.

At different points in the movie, the highly regarded facets of most South East Asian countries- incorruptibility, honesty and discipline etc are subtly, yet effectively, fleshed out.

E.g. When Qiang is in urgent need of medicine for his mother; he rushes to the pharmacy and pleads with the pharmacist to give him the medicine immediately. The pharmacist is as cool as a cucumber and firmly tells Qiang to take a number and wait his turn. She doesn’t budge from her stand even when Jiang is in tears in front of her, or when Jiang is shouting in her face. Eventually, Jiang relents and slumps down on a seat and awaits his turn.

The film has won multiple awards at the Shanghai International Film Festival, Malaysia Film Festival and the 12th Chinese Young Generation Film Forum Awards, and it has been nominated for various more, and this isn’t surprising in the slightest.

While the performance of all the actors is stellar, Sylvia Chang manages to edge ahead with her brilliant and accurate acting as Li Jun. The marvelous cinematography by Chen Ko Chin makes the already poignant story even more relatable.

The film, like life, is a roller coaster ride of joyous highs and miserable lows, and it does not afford viewers an opportunity to identify any flaws it may have. Shuttle Life is a must-watch movie, and would be a worthy winner in the International Competition section of the 48th IFFI.

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