ReviewWriter: Cammy ZulkifliWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects:
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"Baik Punya Cilok"
Leading up to the release of "Cuci", Hans Isaac has possibly been through the wildest year of his life. Despite his good looks and charm, the film is put under further intense scrutiny following his tabloid-headlining personal affairs. But Isaac isn't just all talk and no walk. His debut directorial effort proves he's not just resting on his laurels, but is indeed a 'man of the people'.
"Cuci" is a clean-cut and straight-up presentation of life as an ordinary Malaysian citizen. The most distinct aspect of the film is in regards to its brand of humour. Isaac co-stars with his real-life good friends Awie, AC Mizal and Afdlin Shauki - all well-known local funnymen - who co-starred with him previously in Afdlin's "Baik Punya Cilok". With seasoned director Afdlin by his side, Isaac certainly has a mentor to turn to, but his individuality may have been compromised in the process.
There's no doubting the talents of the four men. Each of them embody unique traits that brings forth their own characters, but being a first time director, Isaac is at the narrow of losing his personal touch. Instead of 'a film by Hans Isaac', the film could easily be mistaken for 'a film by Afdlin Shauki'.
On the flipside, Isaac does explore his options well. Taking into account the value of visual creativity and the importance of audio stimulation, Isaac turns over every rock like a curious cat. The good thing is, he does it at a glacial pace and with a good enough sense of balance to cross out the negatives. His artistry within "Cuci" is certainly creative, with angles that provide viewers a first-hand look at the characters' unusual aerial profession - washing the windows of buildings.
The story revolves around four 'brothers' - Jojo (Awie), C'Tan (AC Mizal), Fairil (Afdlin Shauki) and Khai (Hans Isaac). The four lived as orphans in a village under the care of a guardian, and grows up to be measly window cleaners in the big city with nothing but dreams in their pockets.
The backbone of the story follows a less than traveled path, but fluidly allows both humour and drama to co-exist. The indisputable choice of cast makes for a good ensemble - coherent enough for the brothers to look like they've actually lived their lives together.
"Cuci", with its comedy aside, also probes into very Malaysian issues but is careful to never cross political boundaries. Afdlin's character Fairil often argues on the infamous 'Malaysian mentality', and snaps back with articulate enough remarks to stamp an exclamation mark on the regular Malaysian's forehead. When the brothers compete in the Window Washing Olympics, their rivals happen to be none other than a group of 'imported labour' (read: Bangladeshis). It is safe to say patriotism runs deep with this film.
The film's dialogue is solid with a substantial amount of Malaysian lingo to make it feel so close to home. Good scriptwriting definitely added to its charm with some lines innately able make your ears turn hot and yours eyes swell up; not to mention the background music effortlessly hand-held the film to its completion with such blessing. Above all else, the slew of cameo appearances throughout the movie is a welcomed touch. Isaac has definitely proved his worth with a good attempt at a good movie that can only be as good as the budget allows, but great things are yet to come from this new director who certainly has a vision for his work.Cinema Online, 23 September 2008