By The Gorgeous Palah Chingu
Kudos to the director, casts, staffs and all who were involved directly and indirectly in making this film. For me, though I found certain flaws in the acting but it is forgivable considering the theme of this film is peculiar and not similar at all with local films. Lately, racism has been a famous topic in Malaysia and it is repeated all over again by politicians, media and social networks. Using ‘you will believe again’ as the film’s trademark, one will not easily convinced to watching this right away. I was a bit skeptical but then I watched ‘The Journey’ film last year. It was an excellent film although it focused mainly on Malaysian Chinese Society. The director and script writer didn’t neglect the part that (as Malaysian) other races pretty much involved in our daily life. They (those irrelevant people) could argue that it’s not Malaysian film but for me, it pretty much is. Exploring how their society’s perception on inter racial marriage as a platform in the film works really well. So, what trigger me to watch Ola Bola (as I seldom watch local films unless it really is promising and brilliant at the same time) is this film shared the same director of ‘The Journey’ movie.
It’s a about the journey of Malaysia’s National Football team in the year of 1980. This is inspired from true event. The intensifying journey of the team in qualifying the team into 1980 summer Olympics in Moscow, Russian is featured as a main story in the film. Why we need such film? That’s because we never had any film to reminisce us that we used to be incredible and fearless football team. We talked about ‘Malaysia Boleh’ but where it came from actually? This is one of the events that can take us back and recall that we are undefeatable as a team. This film did a lot for me personally. I don’t even know we beat Korea and our national team qualified to enter Olympics in 1980. I was ashamed for not knowing that. Maybe some of you felt that watching this film might not change anything; that once the film is over, we went back to our life and go on with our life. This is true but it does give me hope. Don’t you see? This film tried to revitalize the Malaysian spirit that ‘We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided’ as JK Rowling put it nicely. I watched this film last Saturday and the cinema was packed with people with different races and varied ages as well. It was such a heartwarming to see that many Malaysians felt the need to support our local films.
The cinematography is gorgeous. It captured Malaysia really well. The script is not bad for a local film standard. There are a few lines which is corny and some sound forceful to make it echo unity and harmony but that’s just it. It was bearable and they didn’t overdo the script. The acting is not flawless (I have to be honest) there are certain weaknesses to it but I don’t really care for it. Not because the casts are attractive but most of them are not an actors. Some of them are football players turned amateur actors just for the sake of the films. For some people who loudly criticized that some of the actors in the film are ‘kayu’, you guys should give them a credit for trying. Most of you can even watch an unbearable local drama with irrelevant plot filled with talentless actress and actors, why feel the need to diss the film? This is pure gem compared to what you guys watch every day. Bront Palaree’s performance is brilliant. He carried his role as a sports commentator really well. The other actors like JC Chee, Luqman Hafidz, Saran Kumar Manokaran, Marianne Tan, Katrina Ho and Frankie Lee also not disappointing in portraying their characters.
It touched a little bit personal struggle of the football players in their real life. The film is not 100 percent revolved around football or you silly American called it ‘Soccer’. Muthu is Portrayed by Saran Kumar Manokaran showed the struggle of being an eldest son in this family. His father wanted him to focus on helping the family. Being in a National Football Team back then and now is different. I read some interview given by the former national player saying that sometime they don’t even get paid and if they did, it is not as much as what the current player got now. Muthu is in a big dilemma; he wanted to quit the team to help his family but playing football is his passion as he stated ‘It’s the only thing that he knew’. JC Chee portayed as ‘Chow Kwok Keong or Tauke’ is the National Football Team Captain. He has been offered to play for a club in England but he refused to do so. He wanted to be champion in his own country. While we (as an audience) should laud his patriotism, his decision of not going causing his family especially his sister devastated. If he did go, he can easily earned money and help his family. He was also in torn of choosing to do what he believes in or helping his family. Maybe now we couldn’t feel the struggle but it is real as it can be back them.
I assure you that it’s not all sad and sappy in the film. Muthu’s younger brothers really incited non-stop laughter from the audience. They were very natural for child actors. Their foolishness and wickedness is refreshing in the film. Ong Thiam Cai or Ah Cai character is also unforgettable. He has been in National Football Team for 8 years but he entered the field to play not more than 5 times. He is quirky and skillful on the field but never been given a chance to show off his skill. He has been teased a lot by his team members but he laughed with them. This is a story comprised of the characters with diversified races and backgrounds. They are courage, gutsy and ‘nothing is impossible’ attitude. Along the way, some spirits might have been broken and shattered but they managed to get it together and rise like a phoenix from the ashes.
Last but not least, watch it not because your friends recommend this film; watch it because you want to believe again.