Director- Jamil Dehlavi
Cast- Christopher Lee, James Fox.
Country of Origin- U.K. / Pakistan
Discs - 2
Distributor - Eureka
Reviewer - Tyler Miller
Date - 01/23/2017
The Film (4.5/5)
In his dying moments, the founder of Pakistan, Mohammed Ali Jinnah (Christopher Lee) travels back through his life with his Guardian angel (Shashi Kapoor). He sees the trials and tribulations of finding peace between the Hindi and Muslim Indians and pushing against all odds to form Pakistan. Before he can enter Heaven, he tries to justify the epic journey to Pakistan and his worth as a man.
JINNAH (1998) is a fascinating biopic that messes with the formula and tells the story of Jinnah’s life in A Christmas Carrol style manner. Instead of the usual quick recap of history, we get to see Jinnah’s life in a supernatural way. He gets to relive his life, and even fill the shoes of onlookers at key points in his life. In one clever bit, Jinnah talks to his younger self in his garden, as they discuss Gandhi and the process of the Pakistan movement. It’s later played off as Jinnah talking to himself. While parts of this narrative fall flat, it’s still enjoyable to see the movie play chances with how to tell Jinnah’s life.
Christopher Lee (1958’s DRACULA, THE WICKER MAN) said in many interviews that this was his finest work as an actor, and the film he was most proud of making. And it’s not hard to see why, Lee is giving 100% in every scene. Lee gives weight to the drama in every scene, with a tear jerk of an ending that doesn’t seem forced or cheap. Lee’s voice gives chills as he gives the film’s speeches, but it doesn’t feel preachy. The man is larger than life and it shows how hard it is to bring peace to the masses.
As for the rest of the cast, Richard Lintern (SYRIANA) does a magnificent job of filling Lee’s shoes as the younger version of Jinnah. He is every bit as compelling as Lee. He has a sharp stare that could cut through most men and his early scenes in love, are even more tragic in context of the story. Shashi Kapoor (DEEWAAR) adds humor to the film and heart during some of the bleaker segments. Sam Dastor (THE LIFE AND DEATH OF PETER SELLERS) blends in perfectly as Gandhi and gives the man a complex and darker appearance. James Fox (PATRIOT GAMES) is charming and likeable selfish commander who is more than happy to trick the Pakistan government to gain more power. Also notable is Maria Aitken (A FISH CALLED WANDA) who adds to drama as Fox’s wife who doesn’t think the Pakistan government will last.
JINNAH has a LPCM 2.0 English language track. The audio is clear with no noticeable issues. The soundtrack is balanced without over shooting the dialogue. Some sections are hollow sounding, especially in the more Hallmark channel sounding parts, but overall its smooth. English subtitles are included.
The 1080p HD transfer is fantastic to look at. The amount of detail in every shot is beyond impressive. The desert and rough terrain both are full of life. The picture is so clear, in some sections you can see the fine sand carried in the air. Some scenes are over lit and the picture starts to get a slight blur, but the indoor scenes are spotless. Overall a worthwhile transfer and the film at its best.
The cover lists the theatrical trailer as the sole extra. But the Blu-ray disc was missing it. So at least the copy I have is bare bones.
JINNAH is an impressive and emotional biographical drama, that doesn’t over simplify the human elements. Christopher Lee delivers one of his finest performances. Eureka gives the film a fantastic transfer that looks and sounds like it was filmed yesterday. The only downside is the lack of extras. A retrospective would’ve been a nice touch. JINNAH is finally ready to find a wider audience with this Blu-ray DVD combo release. Highly Recommended.