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By Mark Bell | May 31, 2014

Since the beginning of time, the path of the artist has always been lonely and uphill, with the gifts of financial recognition just out of reach.

Monish Gangwani’s 8-minute flick, The Roar, begins with much mystery, provocation and promise. A little boy stands against the natural beauty of the land, playing a violin. The music is haunting and soulful. An unseen man, presumably the little boy grown up, speaks of his desire to be an artist, even against the wishes of his father and those who know better. We are told that the child does as he is told.

An interesting and thoughtful cinematic idea? Of course. Does it work? In my lone opinion, yes and no— but mostly no— and I’ll tell you why.

First the pros: The concept is simple, magnificent and magical— as are the characters, cinematography, music and silence, just where it should be. Now for the con—just one, but powerful enough to destroy the majesty of it all: Too much explanatory-voiceover. Ah, V.O.… often such a dastardly thing in movies. Think of it in the same way as that narrator in your favorite book, who hasn’t learned that it’s up to the reader to figure out the plot— if there is one.

My feeling is that The Roar has greatness in it, and should perhaps be re-thought by the filmmaker, and approached in other ways. Maybe the film would be a more powerful short subject, with only visuals, the violin, some sound effects and much silence. Another possibility would be to re-create the movie in feature-length form. Believe me, The Roar contains a mighty and compelling story screaming to get out. I definitely see exceptional movies emerging from Monish Gangwani, but minimalism is the key.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

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