Brick Lane

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The ViewDunedin Review

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Review byMatthew Turner15/11/2007

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 103 mins

Brick Lane is beautifully shot and superbly acted but the story is slow-moving and ultimately rather uneventful.

What's it all about?
Directed by Sarah Gavron and adapted from the best-selling novel by Monica Ali, Brick Lane stars Tannishtha Chatterjee as Nazneen, who is sent from Bangladesh to England and enters into an arranged marriage at the age of 17, following her mother's suicide. Sixteen years later, Nazneen lives in a block of East End flats with her portly, buffoonish husband Chanu (Satish Kaushik) and their two precocious daughters, 14-year-old Shahana (Naeema Begum) and 10-year-old Bibi (Lana Rahman).

When Chanu resigns from his job, Nazneen decides to take a sewing job, which brings her into contact with Karim (Christopher Simpson), the young man who brings her the work. Inspired by her sister's romantic letters from home, Nazneen begins an affair with Karim, but the events of September 11th bring great changes for London's Muslim community and Karim becomes more and more radicalised.

The Good
Chatterjee carries the film with a subtle, multi-layered performance that expertly balances the tension between Nazneen's different roles. Kaushik is equally good, ensuring that Chanu is frustrating and irritating but ultimately sympathetic – it would have been very easy to make him the out-and-out villain of the piece.

Gavron directs with a strong eye for colours and textures, for example, in the way that Nazneen's sewing job brings some of the colour of India (seen frequently in lushly-photographed flashbacks) back into her life. In addition, Robbie Ryan's cinematography captures some stunning imagery, including a memorable final shot.

The Bad
Unfortunately, the pacing is painfully slow in places and the film's biggest events are somehow stripped of their dramatic impact, perhaps because of a lack of chemistry between Simpson and Chatterjee but also because the script cops out of a big dramatic confrontation.

Worth seeing?
Brick Lane is a well made and impressively acted drama but it fails to make an emotional impact.

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Brick Lane
Brick Lane has been reviewed by 1 users
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Content updated: 25/06/2018 16:00

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