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A scene from "Midnight's Children"

2.5 out of 4 stars

Midnight's Children
Directed by
Deepa Mehta
Satya Bhabha, Shahana Goswami, Rajat Kapoor, Seema Biswas, Shriya Saran

A serious-comic epic that sweeps across nearly a century of India's history, its political realism injected with levitating doses of surreal magic, Salman Rushdie's critically lauded novel was thought by many to be unfilmable. They were wrong. Thanks to Rushdie's own screenplay, and Deepa Mehta's direction, Midnight's Children is now a film – it's just not an especially good film. Competent, yes, featuring a vast and solid cast along with multiple locations and abundant plot. But that's part of the problem. With the book's wryly witty tone mostly gone, all that's left is plot – diminished yet recitative, like episodic milestones duly checked off on a laboured journey. There's scant flow and consequently, from us, scant engagement. We look at the unfolding spectacle with our eyes wide but our emotions closed – so much to see, so little to feel.

Sept. 9, 6:30 p.m., Roy Thomson Hall; Sept. 10, 9 a.m., TIFF Bell Lightbox

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