starring Satya Bhabha, Shahana Goswami, Rajat Kapoor, Darsheel Safary
screenplay by Salman Rushdie, based on his novel
directed by Deepa Mehta
by Angelo Muredda It's a nice bit of synergy, good for at least one heavily-latexed Tom Hanks reincarnation, that Deepa Mehta's adaptation of Midnight's Children should come out so soon after the Wachowskis' and Tom Tykwer's ill-fated stab at Cloud Atlas, perhaps the only contemporary novel more labyrinthine than Salman Rushdie's magic-realist opus. So earnest are both efforts that one is tempted to ignore their fundamental failures as either cinema or adaptation and bow to the good intentions of the faithful stewards. Yet one wonders about the value of such graceful gestures when, combined, the two films take up a staggering five hours--indefensible, given the limpid mysticism they have to show for themselves at their muted conclusions. Read together, they're proof that in the absence of a real necessity for adaptation, big novels make for small movies.