Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Watch: Explore The Loneliness Of Sofia Coppola's Films With This Supercut Watch: Explore The Loneliness Of Sofia Coppola's Films With This Supercut 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' Viggo Mortensen Reveals He Turned Down Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight,' Auditioned For 'Reservoir Dogs' Viggo Mortensen Reveals He Turned Down Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight,' Auditioned For 'Reservoir Dogs' Jonathan Nolan Says His Original Ending To 'Interstellar' Was “Much More Straightforward” Jonathan Nolan Says His Original Ending To 'Interstellar' Was “Much More Straightforward” The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & 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.


Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome

E-Mail Updates