Tanda Putera is directed by renowned award-winning Malaysian director Shuhaimi Baba. She is known for directing critically acclaimed and period pieces type of films. Just like her previous films, she assembles a star-studded cast; Rusdi Ramli, Zizan Nin, Faezah Elai, Linda Hashim, Kavitha Sidhu, Nazril Idrus, and many more cameos. The film is written by Shuhaimi Baba herself.
As mentioned earlier, the anticipation of the film is immense due to the content of the film. The reason being the story explores certain events in Malaysian history which involves racial clashes and the actors portraying real-life political figures whom some are still alive today. The film was initially slated to release last year on 12th September but was pushed backed to 29th August 2013.
So, will controversy sell this film?
Set against the backdrop of the racial and political tension in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the film chronicles the life of Malaysia's first Deputy Prime Minister, the late Tun Abdul Razak and how he came to power as the country's second Prime Minister. The film also explores Razak's relationship with his then deputy Tun Dr. Ismail and how both of them struggle to bring peace to the nation while juggling personal problems among them.
|Tun Abdul Razak (Rusdi Ramli) and his governance|
Being a some-what of a semi biographical film, attention is usually paid on historical accuracy rather than dialogue. There is actually quite a good attempt at making a good story structure where several stories intertwined and connected into one. However, it needed more strength to this story structure to make it convincing. Some sub-plots were not developed well but the main plot was quite good.
|A scene where the Prime Minister visits the villages|
As an audience, evaluating acting is based on how I feel from an actor's performance on screen. I felt the acting in this film was pretty stale as a whole with the exception of the two leads (Rusdi Ramli and Zizan Nin) who did well.
|Rusdi Ramli and Zizan Nin who plays Tun Abdul Razak and Tun Dr Ismail respectively|
A production involving historical scenarios would certainly be difficult for many directors and producers. However, I feel this film did pretty okay in establishing a look during the said period of time from costumes to sets. There was a little excessive use of green screen chroma key which was pretty obvious. There were some nice shots too. I applaud the use of mixing actual historical footage into the film which is rarely seen in Malaysian cinemas.
|Tun Abdul Razak (Rusdi Ramli) contemplating the future|
The movie started pretty well by throwing 'tension' into the story. The editing cuts were fast and interesting. However, the cuts became too fast and ended up being hard to follow. In the middle of the film, the pacing slowed down we are pulled backed into the story.
To a certain extent, it is a 'period' piece which focuses on patriotism and the fight to be politically powerful.
|Tun Abdul Razak flanked by his wife Toh Puan Rahah (Faezah Elai) and his personal physician|
The multiple sub-plots might being a turn-off and some visual effects looks amateurish. Please note that the film goes deep into racial issues and might be offensive to some.
A good historical lesson for those who do not know or have less knowledge of Malaysian history. Underlying themes of patriotism and sacrifice.
|Zizan Nin (on the left) share a scene with Rusdi Ramli|
A good, daring, and bold attempt at portraying Malaysian history but lacked sustaining interest only until late in the film.
7 out of 10