Kinks is the clever, mockumentary-brainchild of filmmakers Juliane Block and Virginia Kennedy. Except for some troublesome pacing issues, when the film lags several times along its 86-minute journey, it will have you laughing mindlessly throughout.
The film takes place in the jungles of Malaysia and concerns two argumentative sisters, a reality show shot for American television, and characters so eccentric, they feel real.
Jay (Juliane Block), the show’s producer, is a heavily tattooed, very angry, Caucasian woman of Malaysian decent. Extremely liberal-minded, her ideal methods of relaxation are yoga mantras and bedding down with the faceless employee offering room service. Her sister, Joythi (Nina Sharil Khan), is Jay’s polar opposite. A stressed-out mom, with a most neglected husband, Joythi is the assistant to the Minister of Culture and Moral Standards. Bedecked in sari, jewels, sandals that have seen better days, and a handbook on Moral Standards, Joythi is Jay’s censoring gadfly from Hell.
The production in question is a cross between America’s Top Model—with a food-theme—and a Malaysian form of Love in the Wild. Picture these reality shows, created without any semblance of budget, competent crew, ideal contestants, or prize, and you have Kinks in all its glory.
What makes Kinks a successful movie is that it’s very well written. It also helps that the actors are truly outstanding in their abilities to portray humor through pathos and seriousness. One notable example is Anders (Alfred Loh), who is absolutely hilarious as Jay’s intense, slightly morose, art-filmmaker-wannabe cinematographer.
Kinks is Block and Kennedy’s gift to all of us low budget independent filmmakers everywhere. We know how brutal it is to juggle money, actors, crew, sanity, and yes, sometimes the government, just to realize our dreams. And when all of the excitement is over, would we do it again? Of course we would!
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