Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
How Quentin Tarantino & Robert Rodriguez Made Josh Brolin's 'No Country For Old Men' Audition Tape How Quentin Tarantino & Robert Rodriguez Made Josh Brolin's 'No Country For Old Men' Audition Tape 'MacGyver' Movie Reboot And New TV Series Pilot On The Way 'MacGyver' Movie Reboot And New TV Series Pilot On The Way Josh Brolin Says He's Starring With Jessica Chastain In A Movie About George Jones & Tammy Wynette Josh Brolin Says He's Starring With Jessica Chastain In A Movie About George Jones & Tammy Wynette Watch: Robert Richardson Explains Why He Took His Name Off 'World War Z' And More In 58-Minute Cinematographer Talk Watch: Robert Richardson Explains Why He Took His Name Off 'World War Z' And More In 58-Minute Cinematographer Talk George Miller Says He Originally Wanted The Music In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' To Only Come From The Doof Warrior George Miller Says He Originally Wanted The Music In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' To Only Come From The Doof Warrior Review: Coen Brothers' 'Hail, Caesar!' Starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, And More Review: Coen Brothers' 'Hail, Caesar!' Starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, And More Naomi Watts Confirmed For David Lynch’s ‘Twin Peaks’ Revival; Tom Sizemore Joins Cast Naomi Watts Confirmed For David Lynch’s ‘Twin Peaks’ Revival; Tom Sizemore Joins Cast Watch: Quentin Tarantino Talks 5 Movies To Watch Before 'The Hateful Eight' In 7-Minute Video Watch: Quentin Tarantino Talks 5 Movies To Watch Before 'The Hateful Eight' In 7-Minute Video SAG Award Winners: ‘Spotlight’ Wins Best Ensemble, Leonardo DiCaprio, Idris Elba & Brie Larson Also Score Big SAG Award Winners: ‘Spotlight’ Wins Best Ensemble, Leonardo DiCaprio, Idris Elba & Brie Larson Also Score Big Review: ‘Jane Got A Gun’ Starring Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton & Ewan McGregor Review: ‘Jane Got A Gun’ Starring Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton & Ewan McGregor Mel Gibson Gave Nate Parker Advice On Making 'The Birth Of A Nation' Mel Gibson Gave Nate Parker Advice On Making 'The Birth Of A Nation' The 25 Most Anticipated New TV Shows Of 2016 The 25 Most Anticipated New TV Shows Of 2016 The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 The 20 Best Films Of 2015 The 20 Best Films Of 2015 The 25 Best Action Movies Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Action Movies Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Sci-Fi Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Sci-Fi Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far Terry Gilliam Talks The "Simplistic" Films Of Steven Spielberg, Dumbing Down Of Audiences, 'Don Quixote' Start Date & More Terry Gilliam Talks The "Simplistic" Films Of Steven Spielberg, Dumbing Down Of Audiences, 'Don Quixote' Start Date & More

Review: 'Zero Bridge' Goes For Realism But Ends Up With Stiffness

Photo of Christopher Bell By Christopher Bell | The Playlist February 18, 2011 at 3:09AM

It's always nice when filmmakers are open to collaboration. This teamwork isn't (and shouldn't) be limited to the actors, but their general environment as well. It takes an exceptional kind of artist to make these loose partnerships flourish, as a project could quickly become detached or too self-indulgent without the proper wrangling. Still, knowing that any sort of director is diving headfirst into a visually-rich area, planning to shoot guerilla style and working with non-actors to create something distinctive is pretty damn exciting. Tariq Tapa's arsenal had plenty of useful tools to make an incredible indie: a unique-looking cast of unprofessionals, decent video equipment, a simple improv-ready ten page outline, and the setting of the war-torn India-controlled Kashmir. Unfortunately, instead of resembling the works of the topically-fueled Nagisa Oshima ("Sing A Song Of Sex" was devised around national protests) or improv-heavy John Cassavettes, Tapa's much more grounded "Zero Bridge" has more in common with America's micro-indies, for better or worse.
1


It's always nice when filmmakers are open to collaboration. This teamwork isn't (and shouldn't) be limited to the actors, but their general environment as well. It takes an exceptional kind of artist to make these loose partnerships flourish, as a project could quickly become detached or too self-indulgent without the proper wrangling. Still, knowing that any sort of director is diving headfirst into a visually-rich area, planning to shoot guerilla style and working with non-actors to create something distinctive is pretty damn exciting. Tariq Tapa's arsenal had plenty of useful tools to make an incredible indie: a unique-looking cast of unprofessionals, decent video equipment, a simple improv-ready ten page outline, and the setting of the war-torn India-controlled Kashmir. Unfortunately, instead of resembling the works of the topically-fueled Nagisa Oshima ("Sing A Song Of Sex" was devised around national protests) or improv-heavy John Cassavettes, Tapa's much more grounded "Zero Bridge" has more in common with America's micro-indies, for better or worse.

Lead Dilawar (Mohamad Imran Tapa) is a delinquent youth, constantly finding himself in the wrong crowd much to his Uncle's/guardian's often one-note disappointment. After being thrown in jail for petty robbery, the teen is forced to work as a mason with the Uncle, though this doesn't stop him from hustling his former classmates, who pay him handsomely for his homework skills. Karma catches up, though, and he finds himself unable to keep up with their further studies. He comes into contact with Bani (Taniya Khan), a tutor about to be sealed into an unwanted arranged marriage that he not only falls for -- but also happens to be the exact person that he robbed. He harbors this secret, all while trying to woo her and save her from an unhappy future, with the intention of building one together.


They both have a goal -- Bani wants to return to America and Dilawar would love to find and live with his Mother -- but neither objective seems to have any weight to it. The fact of the matter is, the majority of the (non)actors are rather bad, and Tapa is insistent in driving every scene as if they're well trained thespians. They're not delivering monologues or anything, but the lack of any sort of emotion behind lines not only makes certain scenes (including a few cute, romanticy ones -- such as Dilawar using stock pick up lines written on paper) fall flat on their face, and it zaps the effect of realism that the director had intended. Also peculiar is the nature of shooting on-the-fly in a region with a wealth of interesting things going on, but preventing the actors from interacting with anything in the environment. Although the director explains in interviews that one of his priorities was to make a kind of timeless folk-tale, it seems like he really went out of his way to avoid doing anything too contemporary. While it can't be avoided completely, a more accepting approach could've given the film the life it needs.

That aside, the movie runs along pretty briskly, and when the director decides to take a break from the narrative and examine culture -- which range from minor observations of Bani playing musical instruments to a lengthy sequence of Dilawar speaking candidly about Kashmir on a boat with Englishmen -- he leaves an impression. Now if only this attitude was applied to the rest of the film, because as a whole, it doesn't work as well as it could've. All things considered, if this is the kind of movie that he can make as a one man crew with no dough, we might be in for something else if he ever gets proper funding and talent. For now, though, we'll have to wait, because Tapa's better days are ahead of him. [C]

This article is related to: Foreign Films, Review, Foreign Directors, Zero Bridge, Tariq Tapa


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates