Such a Long Journey (1998)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Historical Epic, Period Film, Political Drama  |   Release Date - Mar 24, 2000 (USA)  |   Run Time - 113 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Derek Armstrong

Those who dislike Such a Long Journey will quip that sitting through its 112 minutes is just as exhausting as the title suggests. At times, it is indeed "such a long movie," with a serpentine narrative about political duties in 1970s India that's never clear enough for a Western audience to grasp -- which is a little surprising, since director Sturla Gunnarsson is actually Canadian. Gunnarsson's real feat is bringing the busy pulse of Bombay to life, combining the macro and micro to create a lively portrait of a city and its 1,000 stories. But it is a sort of scattershot approach to filmmaking, too esoteric for its themes to truly resonate. Even though the film is in English, it's sort of like watching a foreign film without subtitles. Roshan Seth, the British-Indian actor known to U.S. audiences for his stock ethnic roles in films like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, gives a complex portrayal of the status quo family man conflicted about whether to accept the challenges thrust his way. He's involved in several emotional scenes of family and religion that work as isolated sequences. But there's not enough forward momentum to unify the many interesting ideas that comprise this disparate soup.