Writer: Casey ChongWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects:
NACinematography: Watch this if you liked:
“Sepet”, “Relationship Status” and “Kolumpo”
It's not every day that we get to watch a local movie that features several directors, whom each have their own sense of genre preferences, join forces to make one movie together that isn't told in an anthology form. One such movie is "Cuak" or known as "Second Thoughts" for its English title - a unique but uneven romance drama directed by five different filmmakers (Khairil M Bahar, Lim Benji, Manesh Nesaratnam, Tony Pietra Arjuna and Shamaine Othman).
"Cuak" revolves around Adam (Ghafir Akbar), who is about to perform the 'akad nikah' (solemnisation ceremony) with his soon-to-be wife, Brenda (Dawn Cheong). As the 'akad nikah' is about to take place, Adam recalls a series of incidents - which includes his meddlesome friends (Gavin Yap, Abdul Qahar Aqilah, Iedil Putra and Ash Nair), insane in-laws (Patrick Teoh, Chae Lian Dong and Bernie Chan), a suspicious stepbrother (Tony Eusoff) and unresolved ex-girlfriend issues (Ani Juliana Ibrahim) - that almost causes him to think twice about his marriage to Brenda.
Instead of approaching the movie in a straightforward manner, the filmmakers are diligent enough to capture the viewers' interest by intertwining their narrative style in a non-linear fashion (think something like "Pulp Fiction", and you'll get the idea).
Of all the segments presented here, this reviewer is particularly impressed with Shamaine Othman's rousing segment of "The Couple". In this particular segment, Adam and Brenda engage in a heated debate over a religious issue (with some censored dialogue along the way due to its highly-sensitive content) while preparing a meal in the kitchen. Such a theme is bound to provoke controversy, but nevertheless Othman's brave direction is worthy of an applause here.
As good as "Cuak" manages to deliver, the movie is not without its flaws. At nearly two-hours long, the movie tends to drag in places. Speaking of that, Tony Pietra Arjuna's segment of "Issues" which revolves around Adam's half-brother Mikael (Tony Eusoff) in a subplot about him being a customs officer, feels like one. While Arjuna manages to nail the neo-noir setting right and Eusoff is perfectly typecast as the brooding Mikael, the inclusion of Mikael's personal agenda tends to wear down the movie's overall momentum.
Apart from the aforementioned Tony Eusoff bit, both Ghafir Akbar and Dawn Cheong are terrific together as a couple. Another actor worth praising is Ani Juliana Ibrahim's emotionally tense performance as Adam's first girlfriend, Nurul, who appears in Lim Benji's segment of "The Footage".
Overall, "Cuak" is a good local movie worth checking out. After all, how often you get to watch a drama that dares to question thought-provoking local relatable issues which you don't normally find in mainstream cinema?Cinema Online, 12 February 2014