Newest Reviews
Slumber Party Massacre
Bones, The
Saint Etienne: I've Been Trying To Tell You
Death Valley
Menace II Society
Night Raiders
Samourai, Le
Advent Calendar, The
Merchant of Four Seasons, The
Love of Jeanne Ney, The
Blonde. Purple
Dirty Ho
Dying to Divorce
Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
Trouble with Being Born, The
Last Matinee, The
Strings, The
Free Hand for a Tough Cop
People Just Do Nothing: Big in Japan
Dear Future Children
Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus
Thin Red Line, The
Petite Maman
Fast & Furious 9
Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat
Sweet Thing
Father, The
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Night House, The
Father of Flies
80,000 Years Old
Dead & Beautiful
Newest Articles
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
  East is East Cross Culture
Year: 1999
Director: Damien O'Donnell
Stars: Om Puri, Linda Bassett, Jordan Routledge, Archie Panjabi, Emil Marwa, Chris Bisson, Jimi Mistry, Raji James, Ian Aspinall, Lesley Nicol, Emma Rydal, Ruth Jones, Ben Keaton, Kriss Dosanjh, John Bardon, Gary Damer, Albert Moses, Jimmi Harkishin, Gary Lewis
Genre: Comedy, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 3 votes)
Review: Salford, Northern England, in 1971, and the family of George Khan (Om Puri) are struggling with the expectations of their strict, devoutly religious father, who runs the fish and chip shop in the area they live. The seven children are more comfortable with the idea of being British than their Pakistani roots, especially as their mother Ella (Linda Bassett) is a white Englishwoman, but they get by all right, that is until the fateful day when eldest brother Nazir (Ian Aspinall) is set for an arranged marriage. He goes through with the ceremony right up until the moment the veils are lifted - then does a runner...

One of the most successful British movies ever made at the time as far as its budget to takings ratio went, East is East was advertised as a broad, bawdy comedy of race relations, so when it took a darker turn late on in the story, many were caught out. Yet for all the uncertainty this twist elicited in its audience, actor (but not in this) Ayub Khan-Din adapted his own autobiographical play skillfully, so that the grimmer elements arose from the solid grounding what we had seen in the opening half. That's not to say the laughs dried up in the latter stages, as it was still offering the funnier moments, it's just that it had something sincere to observe about tradition and the extremes people can go to preserve it.

With a very fine ensemble cast, the film was certainly keen to embrace the humour to be found in many a dysfunctional family, while not shying away from the damage they inadvertently do to the individuals when a strong difference of opinion comes up. With each of the children distinctive in their own way, from the youngest, permanently parka-wearing Sajid (Jordan Routledge) to the absconding Nazir, banished by George who considered him dead from then on, there was ample opportunity for excellent interaction, with plenty examples of sharp tongued wit and roughhewn behaviour, sometimes in jest, other times not so much. We understand them immediately.

As the script resolved itself into a series of portraits of the characters, there were a number of scenic gems to appreciate. Take the sequence when Tariq (a permanently disgruntled-looking Jimi Mistry) gets to escape his stifling home life and cut a rug on the dancefloor, womanising and drinking in a manner that would not be welcomed by his father. His brother Abdul (Raji James, amusingly reticent but eager to try) tags along for the first time, which might have been an excuse for easy nostalgia prompting - this was released at the end of the nineties, a decade where the pop culture of twenty years before was the in thing - yet not only is it very funny, but it builds on the themes of culture clash.

The main problem George has is that he may have adopted Britain as his home, but he has not accepted its traditions as equal to his Pakistani origins, so he feels he has to emphasise this by putting his foot down and forcing his children to conform to his stern beliefs when they would prefer to be more multicultural. This may begin as lighthearted, but once he begins using violence to make his point, the tone is mixed with a seriousness that some viewers might not be prepared to go with, yet lends a depth to what could have been a "stick another old record on the soundtrack" wallow in the seventies. This is all played deftly, and the complications of such relationships are not glossed over in any way, resulting in a work that you may be surprised to be moved by, particularly in light of how crude it could have been in other hands. Filled with excellent scenes - the part where the Khans sit miserably watching The Clangers as Oliver Postgate's narration comments on their state of mind is inspired - East is East fully deserved its success. Music by Deborah Mollison.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 3546 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (2)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt


Last Updated: