A broom, a cat, and a mysterious stranger have the makings of a predictable tale of fantasy. The Black Cat is based on a short story by author Ruskin Bond.
Mr. Bond (Tom Alter) is an older man perusing the shelves of a local antique store in a small town in India. At the last moment, Mr. Bond comes across a broom that strikes his fancy. Not a modern broom, but a broom of days gone by. One you might use in a Quidditch match. OK?
“One you might use in a Quidditch match…”
Mr. Bond takes the broom home and gives it a test run in his living room. Moments later, an unexpected visitor arrives…a black cat. Mr. Bond is not a cat lover, but he becomes cat tolerant. Over time the cat starts to become a nuisance. Just as Mr. Bond reaches his limits, Miss Bellows (Shernaz Patel) arrives looking for her cat. Mr. Bond is more than happy to hand over the unwanted visitor.
Things are not as they seem. Trying to impress Miss Bellows, Mr. Bond goes out of his way to make her feel at home. Miss Bellows, on the other hand, is focused on the black cat and Mr. Bond’s new broom.
Adapted and directed by Bhargav Saikia, The Black Cat is a sweet, little story about a man who buys a broom. Visually, the film is beautiful and interesting, but not enough to elevate its predictable story to any level of greatness. Once you know where the story is going, it is hard not to become impatient and wish the story would just move on.
“…a beautiful film wrapped in a mediocre story.”
The problem with The Black Cat is that it is basically a series of unrelated events. Not held together by any organic storytelling. Act I, Mr. Bond buys a broom. Act II, a black cat appears and won’t leave. Yes, the cat won’t leave. Act III, the appearance of Miss Bellows’ and this is the most interesting part of the story, but it’s all in that last act. Act I leads to Act II then onto Act III, but Act III has nothing to do with Act I except the broom. Ultimately, The Black Cat is a beautiful film wrapped in a mediocre story.
The Black Cat (2017) Written and directed by Bhargav Saikia. Starring Tom Alter, Shernaz Patel, Uday Chandra.
2.5 out of 5 stars