The highly-anticipated patriotic movie “Rise: Ini Kalilah” had its world premiere at GSC, One Utama on 3rd September 2018, featuring more than 1,700 guests including prominent political figures and local celebrities.
The politicians attended include Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo, Minister of Youth and Sports Syed Saddiq, Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh, former Minister of International Trade and Industry Rafidah Aziz, and socio-political activist and writer Marina Mahathir.
Produced by WebTVAsia, the movie is inspired by the recent 14th Malaysian general election, following the lives of 6 very different Malaysians, coming together for the love of their country.
Directed by Saw Teong Hin, Nik Amir Mustapha and Prem Nath, the movie features a line-up of star-studded cast such as Remy Ishak, Mira Filzah, Sangeeta Krishnasamy, Jack Tan, Shashi Tharan, Jenn Chia, Mark O’dea, as well as notable supporting actors like Sweet Qismina, Mustaqim Bahadon, Sharifah Sakinah, Yana Samsudin, Dato’ Jalaluddin Hassan, Tony Eusoff, Pushpa Narayan, Moon Yoong, David Anthony and more.
Hype Malaysia had the honoured to be one of the first to watch the GE14-inspired film, and there are just so many things that we would like to address.
What we like
The movie is an ambitious project by producer Fred Chong which recounts the gripping days during the election week that led up to the historical moment that no one can forget. But instead of focusing on the political figures and election itself, Chong highlights the efforts and sacrifices of common people from all walks of life, who were the main key to winning the GE14. From a police officer to a PACA volunteer, a student based in London, a Singapore-based worker, and a local reporter – these people are the unsung heroes of “Rise: Ini Kalilah”.
WebTVAsia is more known for its music talents rather than its acting talents, so naturally music has always been the company’s forte. There are 2 notable soundtracks in this movie. Though both songs are music covers, the tunes have been beautifully rearranged to suit the taste of today’s generation.
The main theme is a cover version of iconic patriotic tune “Sejahtera Malaysia” sung by Malaysia’s jazz queen Datuk Sheila Majid with music scoring and arrangement done by music directors Cheng Lee, Mac Chew and Audi Mok. Meanwhile, the end title theme is the proud anthem “Saya Anak Malaysia”, featuring an all-star music cast including Alleycats’ David Arumugam, Jenn Chia, Priscilla Abby, Haoren, Meer Nash, Jeryl Lee, and more. The song also presents cameo from the acting cast.
Plus, there is a Mandarin version of the song too.
The acting is 50/50
The movie focuses on 6 characters; policeman Azman (Remy Ishak), student based in London Fizah (Mira Filzah), British reporter Marcus (Mark O’dea), factory owner Selva (Shashi Tharan), music teacher Shanti (Sangeeta Krishnasamy), and Singapore-based Malaysian Leong (Jack Tan). Despite featuring a star-studded cast, not every character stands out equally as some actors shine brighter than others.
In our opinion, the actors that outshine the rest are Sangeeta, Shashi and Remy who bring depth and growth to their simple roles – allowing the audience to somehow relate to their characters. But sadly, their characters aren’t further explored due to the time constraint as well as the shallow level of their stories that seem incomplete. Meanwhile, the other cast don’t really stand out as much as their roles are pretty much one-dimensional with little to no growth.
What we don’t like
It is true that the movie is ambitious and inspiring, but the plot is not as satisfying as many would’ve expected. Seeing all the hype from the past month, you think that the movie would blow you away and leave you in tears, but instead it leaves you a sense of incompleteness. The film has so many loose threads here and there, and there are also a lot things missing in between. Every story arc only touches the surface area and doesn’t delve deeper, and some of them seem too rushed. Even though the movie was directed by 3 renowned directors, the stories don’t weave smoothly and the transition from one arc to another is rather messy.
As there are too many main characters to focus on, the build up for each arc is very slow and at some point, downright boring. Because it wastes too much time in building up the first part, the second part becomes too rushed and confusing. Since the movie was made in only 3 months, there isn’t enough time for each director to develop or explore their respective arc due to the time limitation, which is why everything only covers the surface area.
Some of the cast could’ve perform better but since their characters were badly written, they didn’t get to show their talents to the full potential. For instance, Mira Filzah’s character appear to be an interesting one at first, but in the end, it falls flat as the character growth is not obvious. Another character who seems unnatural and forced would be Jenn Chia, a Malaysian born and raised in KL, but was given a Sabahan role (just so they can include at least one East Malaysian in the movie). This was badly executed.
Mark O’dea plays a British reporter who is somehow interested and impressed by Jenn Chia’s one-dimensional character and also Malaysia’s corrupted system, but he doesn’t exactly contribute anything to the story. Meanwhile, Jack Tan plays a Malaysian working in Singapore, but the character doesn’t show any patriotic spirit when he returns to his home country for voting.
The movie is filled with many cheesy lines and weird metaphors that are confusing and cringing as normal people don’t usually use them. Some of the cringe-y lines will make you burst out laughing as it is so awkward that it becomes hilarious.
The biased view
It is so obvious that the movie is skewed towards the current new government as it portrays the old government in a bad light. There are a lot of inconsistencies in the movie as it uses fictional politicians and political party names to avoid getting itself into trouble. Yet, the movie uses real footages of Mahathir’s campaign and swearing-in ceremony during the GE14.
What can be improved
- We believe that the film would be a lot better if it was separated into 3 different short films, where the characters from each film come together at the end during the climax. This is because each director had a different vision and style, thus mashing their stories together made the tone of the movie inconsistent.
- It has already been stated that the production crew took 3 months to make the whole film, and shooting itself took 20 days for each director. If the production was given a longer duration, we believe the film would probably perform better as each director will have more time to discuss and weave their stories better.
- It also would be a lot better if there was one main plot that the viewers can focus on. The problem with “Rise: Ini Kalilah” is that there were too many main characters, and each of them weren’t given ample time to develop their stories, which is why most of the stories felt incomplete.
- By focusing on 1 story instead of 3, directors will have more time to expand on the backstory of the main cast and give proper closure to the narrative. It is perfectly fine to include other stories in the movie, but instead of giving equal attention to the arcs, the rest can serve as subplots to support the main plot.
- Some of the stories from the 6 arcs are just not inspiring enough. We feel that there are more amazing stories that the producers can choose from during the GE14 incident as the ones presented in the film are quite mediocre.
The movie may be lacking in certain areas but nevertheless it is still a commendable effort and it is made with good intention and great spirit. Anyhow, we would still recommend everyone to watch this movie as it has some good, funny and heartwarming moments. But most importantly, it will take you back to the historical day and let you relive the moment once again.