Viceroy’s House (2017) starring Hugh Bonneville, Gillian Anderson, Michael Gambon, Simon Callow, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, & Huma Qureshi

SPOILERS: Don’t read this post if you haven’t seen, or don’t want to know, details from this movie (now showing in wide release in the US).

[1] If you saw something similar in a high school world history class it would be interesting and effective. As a theatrical movie it misses the mark.

[2] ...as history, it is inevitably selective. Most glaring is the benign portrait of a compassionate departing colonial power.

[3] It’s interesting to see, but it’s by no means a cinematic masterclass.

[4] What could have been an epic, ends up being too pedestrian. It is this failure in character development which pulls the film down harder than all the other negative factors combined.

[5] A special mention needs to go to Gillian Anderson. Her performance as Lady Mountbatten is wonderful. The received pronunciation was perfect. Her character adds heart, she adds a moral core, to both Lord Mountbatten, and in my eyes, to the film in general.

-Excerpts from reviews on IMDB

I saw this movie (ONLY available in SD- ugh) last night on FIOS On Demand. I had been anticipating it for almost 3 mos, so was VERY excited. (American actor Manish Dayal was posting bits about it on his social media.) I was a big fan of Bend it Like Beckham, British director Gurinder Chadha’s breakout indie hit. I thought her Thanksgiving-themed film (What’s Cooking?) was pretty good. The posters didn’t appeal to me- TOO slick and stereotypical of a historical drama. I liked the trailers that I saw; the high production value was evident (which viewers expect from this caliber of film).

Sadly, Viceroy’s House was NOT what I expected. After it ended, I wondered: “There MUST have been MORE to this film!” It seems edited down (to a mere 1 hr 46 mins); however, it seems longer b/c of it’s plodding nature (at least in the first half). Maybe it needs to be seen on the big screen (for its sheer scope and spectacle)? Or maybe it would’ve been better as a miniseries or movie on HBO (where directors and writers have more creative control)? MANY critics/viewers felt that Hugh Bonneville was miscast as Lord Louis Mountbatten. Hmmm… maybe it’s TOO close to his role as head of Downton Abbey? Gillian Anderson (who plays Lady Edwina) is given some of the best lines in the movie; she does well w/ in her role. (You should check Anderson out in British work, incl. The Fall on Netflix.)

The veteran actors who play Nehru (Tanveer Ghani), Jinnah (Denzil Smith), and Gandhi (Neeraj Kabi) do what they can w/ what they are given. Basically, they sit around and debate w/ the Brits on if and how to divide India and the new Muslim majority nation- Pakistan. Some of you know that Gandhi didn’t want India divided; he imagined a land where ALL religions live together in peace (as before the Brits arrived and used their “divide and conquer” strategy to rule). Some Pakistanis were NOT pleased w/ the portrayal of Jinnah, who comes off as duplicitous.

Michael Gambon plays Gen. Ismay, a cold/intimidating man who doesn’t care what happens to the Indian people. He wants to get the boundaries created ASAP and get back to England. Simon Callow ‘s overwhelmed character, Radcliffe, says that it’s impossible to make these decisions in such a short time frame. Ismay finally shows him a plan from 1945 which already lays out exactly how India and Pakistan should be divided (NOT sure how accurate this is in reality)!

The recently deceased international Indian actor, Om Puri, has a small, yet effective/touching role. (He played Dayal’s father in The Hundred-Foot Journey). In this film, Puri plays Ali Rahim Noor, the blind/elderly father of Aalia (Pakistani actress Huma Qureshi), the Muslim woman who has captured the heart of Dayal’s character, Jeet Kumar. Ali Rahim was a political prisoner in the jail where Jeet worked for 2 yrs as a guard. Now, Jeet is a manservant (alongside his Sikh friend, Duleep Singh) for Mountbatten. As Dayal has said, Jeet represents the Hindu perspective in the film. He is an earnest/optimistic young man who feels that his destiny is to marry Aalia.

One of the servants (among 500+ in the viceroy’s household) who stirs up trouble is Mohsin (Samrat Chakraborti, an American actor/musician whose career I’ve been following since 2005). He also has a crucial role in Midnight’s Children (check Netflix to see if it’s still available). Another pleasant surprise is the original music by A.R. Rahman, an internationally recognized composer. I thought he did a esp. fine job in the last section of the film, when we see large crowds of refugees streaming into the palatial estate.

Related Videos

Two (differing) reviews of the film

BBC interview w/ Chadha (12:16)

BUILD Series interview w/ Chadha & Ghani (34:29)

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Game of Thrones: Season 7 – Thoughts & Questions

SPOILERS: Don’t read this post if you haven’t seen, or don’t want to know, details from Season 7 of Game of Thrones.

My initial thought was that Arya and Sansa were plotting this eventuality all along, which is why they went along with Littlefinger’s scheme just long enough to put him in a position where they could kill him. But if that’s the case, why were there so many scenes featuring just the two sisters, scenes that Littlefinger couldn’t plausibly know about? And if going along with Littlefinger wasn’t an act, then the storytelling is even stranger, because Sansa and Arya spent a lot of time fighting about things that seemed largely out of character, as opposed to all of the things they really did have to fight about. Todd VanDerWorff (Vox)

Of course, while it was Arya who actually did the executing, and it was Bran who provided some key intel, the bulk of the credit for Littlefinger’s death can go to Sansa. She was the one smart enough to see through Littlefinger’s machinations, and also the only one with enough sparkle to make him crawl on the ground while weeping and begging for mercy. -Joanna Robinson (Vanity Fair)

MANY viewers polled (on Amazon) considered Sansa the MVP of the finale. She had such a crazy journey over the the oast 7 yrs, BUT survived to become Lady of Winterfell, and FINALLY defeat Littlefinger (YAY)! We get a rundown of the “chaos” that Lord Petyr Baelish caused over the years; w/o him, there would be no story. It was he who had Catelyn Stark’s younger sister, Lysa (crazy in love w/ him) poison her husband, Jon Arryn (Hand to King Robert Baratheon). Robert needed a man who knew, as well as someone he could trust, so he trekked North w/ most of his family.

King Robert convinced his oldest/closest friend, Ned Stark, to move to King’s Landing and take over the role of Hand. (Robert had loved Ned’s long-dead sister, Lyanna, BUT that’s another part of the tale.) To sweeten the job offer, Robert betrothed his son/heir, Joffrey, to Ned’s eldest daughter, Sansa (who had dreamed of living in the big city and being married to a handsome prince). In time, Ned discovered that Joffrey (and all Robert’s supposed children w/ his wife, Cersei Lannister) were fathered by her twin brother, Jaime. The common people of realm thought that their king was killed by a boar during a hunt; he was actually poisoned by his cupbearer, Lancel, a young cousin/lover to Cersei. The plot to kill Robert was Cersei’s plan (and Littlefinger was allied w/ her); they had never loved (or even liked) each other. After Ned (kind/honorable/artless) revealed what he knew re: Prince Joffrey’s illegitimacy to (clever/power-hungry/ruthless) Cersei, it ALL went downhill for the Stark clan! 

This obsessive analysis of every line of dialogue and scene scene was possible because the series established and followed a distinct set of rules that kept the chaos in check. 

The patterned logic made it possible to hypothesize outcomes, for any viewer to wax poetically on Twitter about the theoretical fate of their favorite characters. It made a close reading worth it… 

…Season 7 shed these rules in order to sprint towards the story’s conclusion. And in doing so it became a very different series, one that has left the old Game of Thrones in the dust. -Kelly Lawler (USA Today)

“We” (English majors) analyze nearly everything (things we read, listen to, and see in media). That’s why GoT is such a treat; I haven’t been a “superfan” of any other show before (though I have followed MANY TV series in the past). There is SO much going on w/ the action, costumes, sets/locations, music, and (most importantly, IMO) characters and dialogue! This series has some of the MOST complicated characters and quotable lines we’ve encountered in recent years on TV. No wonder we get disappointed when the show doesn’t live up to its potential!  

Let’s not mince words: The Loot Train Battle was a masterpiece. Director Matt Shakman’s first Thrones episode [“The Spoils of War”] featured one of the single greatest battle sequences in the show’s entire history… The pacing and choreography involved in the imaginative battle, not to mention the sheer sight of dragon fire scorching the soil of the Seven Kingdoms, launch this episode into elite status. -Josh Wigler (The Hollywood Reporter)

There were some great moments in S7; the best action scenes happened in E4 (check out the behind-the-scenes segment from HBO, if you haven’t done so yet). This was the first time that Jaime (commander of the Lannister forces) saw a dragon- whoa! He lived (thanks Bronn) to tell Cersei, BUT she didn’t realize the gravity of their situation (until the finale).  As Jaime was riding away from the city, Winter (snow) came to King’s Landing for the first time in the series. 

QUESTIONS: (I hope these get addressed in Season 8!)

  • Why was Tyrion creeping around outside Dany’s cabin on the boat? 
    • I think he feels that these two rulers hooking up  (or “personal alliance” as Peter Segal called it) before the end of the war is a bad idea. 
    • Some YouTube reviewers think that Tyrion MAY have betrayed Dany, so is feeling guilty about it (a la Jorah w/ the poisoned wine murder plot). 
    • I don’t think this is the case, BUT wanted to share this theory also: Most likely, Tyrion goofed up and secretly fell in love with his queen. Game of Thrones has pretty much set this scenario up as an inevitability. Tyrion pretty much told her as much, right before they shipped out from Meereen: “He wasn’t the first to love you,” he said, referring to Daario, “and he won’t be the last.” -Vinnie Mancuso (Collider)
    • Will the fact that Jon—not Daenerys—is technically the rightful heir to the Targaryen throne put a damper on their burgeoning romance? -Joanna Robinson (Vanity Fair)
  • Is Tormund alive? If so, then will he ever be able to win over Brienne (hmmm). 
  • Is Beric alive? (He’s on his 7th life, having been killed and revived 6 times, as The Hound explains in E6.) I just LOVE this actor’s voice, and he has that cool flaming sword. Maybe Melisandre can revive him? 
  • Is Cersei actually pregnant? This has turned out to be one of the MOST discussed issue by fans online! Some even think that the baby could be Euron’s (after all, he is still loyal to Cersei).
  • What’s next for Jaime? Finally, he has escaped Cersei’s power (YAY)! I’m sure he will ally himself w/ Dany, BUT it may take him some time. Will he reconnect w/ Brienne? They has great chemistry together.
  • Will Theon be able to rescue Yaara from Euron?
  • What’s next for Euron? Related issue: Can The Golden Company (sellswords) stand up to Dany’s army?
  • Who will end up on the Iron Throne?
    • One could assume someone has to end the series on The Iron Throne, but there’s an equal possibility there won’t even be an Iron Throne. Or any people left alive, for that matter. -Vinnie Mancuso (Collider)

Pick-up Lines for Trump’s America

The following lines were said by President Donald Trump:

They’re fighting for love. A lot of people are fighting for my love. 

All of the women flirted with me– consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.

You have to think anyway, so why not think big?

I try to learn from the past, but I plan for the future by focusing exclusively on the present. That’s where the fun is.

The following lines were inspired by Anthony Scaramucci (“The Mooch”): 

I’ve done nothing wrong on my financial disclosures… 

I’m not a paranoiac. 

I would report to you directly… anyday. 

Girl, I loved your hair and makeup the last time I saw you. Your should keep doing that. 

I sometimes use colorful language, but will not give up the passionate fight for your heart.

The following lines were said by Ivanka Trump (advisor/daughter to The President): 

I personally love the word “curious.”

I believe that we each get one life and it’s up to us to live it to the fullest.

It’s enormously important to unplug and devote that time to each other. 

At a work happy hour, preferably: Cultivating authenticity is essential to creating strong bonds with your coworkers. 

On a business trip, perhaps meeting w/ a cute client: You have to be able to look the other guy in the eye and know that there is value in the deal on the other end, too – unless of course, you’re a onetime seller and just going for the gold.

The following lines were said by First Lady Melania Trump (a fomer model/immigrant): 

Happen to run into a dapper (stylish) man? Impress him!: I love my closet, and I always buy things that I love 100 percent. I’m very organized, and I like everything sorted by colors, even the shoes. It’s important to know exactly where everything is when you walk into the closet.

Spot a cutie on Capitol Hill? Try this one: I’m very political. I’m not political in public; I’m political at home.

I think the mistake some people make is they try to change the man they love after they get married. You cannot change a person.

I am not a “yes” person. No matter who you are married to, you still need to lead your life.

Other lines:

To a lawyer (or law student), preferably: Can you form an obstruction case? 

I’m not a drone, but I could surveil you any day.