Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hisss [Jeniffer Lynch]

Some of you would have formed a certain opinion of Hisss after seeing the tagline “She's sexy... venomous... and she'll swallow you whole...”. Yea well, it is all that, but it is a good deal more. The spirit of the movie is captured in an early scene when the perpetually dazed cop played by Irfan Khan wonders in one of his several mumbled monologues to himself if everyone around him is crazy. You see, unlike many other movies which show you the descent of a character into madness by holding it against the sobriety of his own earlier self or of other players, Hisss offers no such bedrock of normality against which you, the audience, can assuredly rest upon while judging the motivations of its characters; Here insanity is the common thread that binds them all.

In a performance that in its lightest moments reflects Jack Nicholson's gone-round-the-bend turn in The Shining, Jeff Doucette plays the white man dying of cancer that wants to attain immortality by getting hold of the mythical snake gem from India. Brushing aside conventional wisdom which would suggest that he appease the snakes, he decides to get his way by separating two lover snakes while they're in the act of making snake babies, and then blackmailing the female snake into providing him with said gem. To do this he takes away the male snake to a hidden jungle locale and keeps it in a box where he gives it periodic electric shocks. Pragmatism at work here.

Separated from her lover, the female snake grows boobs and butt and morphs into Mallika Sherawat. Since white man neglected to leave any forwarding address, she must now track him down to get her lover back. Depending on the wildly varying whims of the script she is presented either as superlatively naïve or ridiculously omniscient. Her pursuit of her lover leads to a trail of immensely bloody deaths and hugely entertaining cheap CG imagery. If I may pick nits I'd say that  the first sequence of over-the-top snake ownage is never topped later on. But the camp level is maintained and every other character in the film chips in generously to its overall insanity quotient. I won't say too much more for fear of spoiling it for you, but it is a rewarding film for people who appreciate that sort of thing. With (T)Hisss, David Lynch's daughter has given us Eraserhead for the masses.


  1. I still wonder how Bollywood can churn out soo many flicks like Hisss and fail to make any worth watching. I am sure bollywood actors, producers and directors etc. have watched movies like Gandhi, the Mission, Exorcist, English Patient, Sawshank Redemtion to name a few.
    Why, I wonder, can they not make movies of that caliber?!
    And this was directed by Jennifer Lynch ! Seriously ?! I find that very hard to swallow just like the plot and acting of Hisss.
    It is rather shameful for Bollywood's and Hollywood's combined production. Is this what we should come to expect in the future of movies ?!
    I give this movie a -1 rating.

  2. @silentmoments:
    Talk about comparing apples and oranges. Hisss is comparable in its scope and intent to films like Snakes on a Plane and Species, which have goofy plots and expendable characters. Hisss was a fun movie to watch with a bunch of friends and have an empty-headed good time, and it that respect it worked incredibly well.
    Hollywood makes more than its share of stupid movies (take anything made by Messrs Roland Emmerich or Michael Bay or the Farrelly brothers), they just have the money and the technical resources to make them look slicker. Just naming a few Oscar-designed films (yes, Oscar-designed: two of the films on that list are made by Miramax which with funding from Disney has made a business of making and marketing their films in a way to maximise their award potential,a far more shameful thing to do than making a profit) made over so many years doesn't make that industry tremendously better and something to emulate.
    And if you say India doesn't have a modicum of good movies, you're either ignorant or wilfully forgetting.
    Shyam Benegal's Making of a Mahatma may not have had the budget for visual splendour but it showed Mohandas Gandhi in a far more rounded and credible light than Attenborough's gooey-eyed halo-encircled version of the man.


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