Movies

Movie reviews: Dukun, The Princess And The Matchmaker

DUKUN (TBA)

Rating: 3.5 stars

Loosely based on the gruesome 1993 real-life murder of a former Malaysian politician by a female witch doctor, the film Dukun is bound to satisfy even the most hardcore horror fan.

The ban on the movie finally lifted after 11 years - it was meant to be released in 2007 - and it opened in Malaysia earlier this month. It has since crossed RM9.1 million (S$3 million) mark at the box office.

And with it showing on 19 screens here, Dukun is set to be the widest released Malay film in Singapore in recent years.

Told through the eyes of defence lawyer Karim (Faizal Hussein), Dukun focuses on the trial of shaman Diana Dahlan (Umie Aida), who was arrested for murdering a businessman in a ritual gone awry.

Meanwhile, Karim is also preoccupied with finding his missing daughter Nadia, who ran away from home months ago.

When he is unable to find any leads, Diana offers her help, chipping away at his conscience as he grows more desperate.

Umie is excellent, stealing every scene she appears in, and Faizal pales in comparison.

His portrayal of a distraught father is bland and wooden, but it does provide respite from the intensity of the horror scenes.

And despite the passing of time, Dukun's effects still hold up. Expect your stomach to be churning up a storm.

- AQIL HAMZAH


THE PRINCESS AND THE MATCHMAKER (PG13)

Rating: 4 stars

Set in a fictitious 18-century Korean empire, this romance imagines a society whose foundation is in astrology and fortune-reading.

It is one where the king's response to a drought is firing employees with bad energy and starting a nationwide search for a husband for his daughter.

If you can ignore such ridiculousness, The Princess And The Matchmaker is bound to make you teary-eyed.

It is also an aesthetically pleasing experience, watching a stunning cast parading in period costumes.

The rebellious princess (Shim Eun Kyung) decides to sneak out of the palace and meet the candidates before the final decision is made on her wedding day.

But after many mishaps and almost losing her life, she falls in love with the diviner-cum-matchmaker (Lee Seung Gi) instead.

The theme of free will is repeatedly echoed, and various characters fight to live their lives of their own accord.

- WANG YANHUA

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