Hanyut Review – The Director with a unique name is back with another
The talented cast
Adapted from a novel, this is a story of Kaspar Almayer (Peter O’Brien), an
English trader trying to survive in the wilderness of Malaya in the late 19th century.
Kaspar hopes to return to Europe with his daughter, Nina (Diana Danielle) whom
he had earlier sent to Singapore to obtain a proper education. His action of
separating his daughter from the mother, local Malay women is despised by Mem
Putih (Sofea Jane). He tends to leave Mem Putih behind and achieve his dream of
getting rich by chasing after a fairy-tale gold mountain. Kaspar makes a deal
with a Malay Prince, Dain Maroola (Adi Putra) who ends up falling in love with
Nina. This presents an opportunity for Mem Putih to get her revenge when she
schemes to let Nina elope with Maroola. Soon after the situation get
complicated and Kaspar is left with nothing but a shattered hope.
Kaspar, Maroola, Nina & Mem Putih
With a cast consisting of the best crop
of local and foreign talent, Hanyut should appeal to both domestic and
international market. Special mention goes to Diana as a lost child caught in
between the Western and Eastern culture. She played her role well and even
upstaged my personal favourite, Sofea in this film. As for the story, it could
move in a faster phase because I felt it was being slightly draggy at some
parts. The depiction of old Malaya along with the customs and relationship
between the local Malay Sultan, merchant Arabs, travelling traders and ‘white
people’ was well represented. I did however wondered the purpose of making this
film as I didn’t take away much after it ended. Is that bad? I’m not sure but
yeah…honestly that how I feel about Hanyut.
Hanyut yang hanyut...
As usual, U-Wei tries to achieve the absolute best for his audience and
does little mistake except for the timing of the release. Hanyut was produced
few years back but only saw the light this year. Unfortunately, in a world full
of Upin and Ipin and what not, Hanyut literally was swept away by other well
promoted local films. It also had to share the limelight with the blockbuster
Hollywood movies which rendered the show-time in cinema. I was lucky to catch
it before it was yanked away in less than one month since the distribution.
Can’t blame the cinema operators since Hanyut didn’t get the big promotion I’d
hoped for. Besides, I can understand that the story does not apply to most
local audience who are more into latest happening compared to learning from the
past. Perhaps Hanyut will do better during the award season compared to its
short lived screening stint.