Film Review: 24 (2021) by Royston Tan

Regardless of a few films right here and there concerning the individuals coping with sound in films (“Dying of the Sound Man”,  “The Sound Man Mangesh Desai”) the career positively issues individuals who can simply be deemed as ‘unsung heroes’. Royston Tan tries to alter the actual fact, in probably the most pleasant method. 

24” is screening on the Across Asia Film Festival

They are saying that, to ensure that a film to captivate its viewers, the very first thing a director ought to do is have a formidable introduction. Tan follows the “dogma” in probably the most “in your face” vogue, by exhibiting a quite steamy intercourse scene between two males because the movie begins, just for the body to open a bit later and reveal the silent protagonist of the film, the sound engineer.  The film continues in the identical method, via 24 settings or units, the place the protagonist is recording sound, barely seen within the background, basically a human chameleon that additionally reminds of a “can you notice it” recreation. 

The assorted places differ considerably, and embody a jungle, a terrace, a graveyard, Chinese language opera, varied performances, individuals discussing how the bills for infants have elevated, the again of the truck and lots of others, with the sound engineer tirelessly recording no matter sounds he can get, at all times standing up, at all times carrying his gear available. This final side is “mocked” in a hilarious method, when in one of many final vignettes, a person on the seaside carries an analogous instrument, with the illusion and the distinction on what they’re doing being one of many funniest moments within the film. 

James Choong, the protagonist, who may as properly be enjoying in a silent film,  is generally standing inexpressive, whereas various issues occur round him, even recording an precise combat within the background sooner or later. The few moments when he truly reacts, nevertheless, are additionally among the many highlights of the film, with the scene at the back of the truck with the employees singing positively staying in thoughts for that massive smile of his. 

Aside from the permeating, dead-pan humor, the film additionally thrives on account of its visuals, with DP Qi An Juan doing a wonderful job in capturing the plethora of various settings, and  the way in which the frames embody the protagonist, who’s there however barely seen. The identical prowess applies to the modifying, with every scene staying on display screen simply lengthy sufficient for the deadpan humor and the entire model of labor of the sound recorder to be introduced in all its glory, whereas at 77 minutes, the film positively doesn’t overextend its welcome.  

“24” is a very exceptional movie, a masterclass in deadpan humor, cinematography and sound, whereas additionally that includes a documentary-level presentation of the work of the sound man. Undoubtedly among the many better of the yr. 



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