Talking Movies: Atlantics, Human Nature and Kings of Mulberry Street

Spling reviews Atlantics, Human Nature and Kings of Mulberry Street as broadcast on Talking Movies, Fine Music Radio. Listen to podcast.


Good morning – welcome to Talking Movies, I’m Spling…

This week, we’re talking about a supernatural romance drama, a documentary and a comedy.

Starting off with a film now on Netflix…


A young woman engaged to be married, struggles to deal with the disappearance of her lover.

Writer-Director: Mati Diop

Stars: Mame Bineta Sane, Amadou Mbow and Ibrahime Traore

– Atlantics is a supernatural mystery romance drama from Senegal, which was nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes, eventually winning the Grand Prix
– while Diop is probably best known as an actress, her work has been drawing attention after she adapted a 2009 short film into a full-length feature
– her latest offering, Atlantics, is based on a documentary short but seems to have been inspired by films like Moonlight and Us
– there’s a poetry to the visuals and lighting, creating an otherworldly feel around the social drama as if taking cues from the Oscar-winning Moonlight
– a low budget production leveraging a broad ensemble, the choice to mimic Jenkins was wise extending the mesmerising quality into the ethereal music
– while not as intense… the scenes from the beach, low-key horror elements, dualities and supernatural vibrations take a page from Jordan Peele’s impressive follow-up to Get Out called Us
– Atlantics benefits from a strong collective of performances from a no-name cast with Sane as Ada and Traore as her partner Souleiman
– gently plucking at an underlying mystery, the film starts as if heading into the realm of a social drama about a construction worker strike and then shapeshifts into a much more enigmatic romance before entering much darker waters
– modest yet beautiful, it’s a haunting and thought-provoking film about the director’s search for her African identity
– it bears the influences of contemporaries and demonstrates great talent even if the storytelling, plotting and limitations affect its consistency

A solid 7 on the splingometer

Moving on to a documentary now on Netflix…


A breakthrough called CRISPR opens the door to curing diseases, reshaping the biosphere, and designing our own children.

Director: Adam Bolt

Stars: Jennifer Doudna, George Church and Alta Charo

– this documentary about genetic engineering ran the risk of becoming overly complicated with explanations and jargon to make your head spin
– thankfully Bolt decided to take an angle, which demystifys the science, offering expert knowledge without having to baffle his audience
– it’s still a lot to take in, but interviewing scientists without having to have them in their lab coats takes the edge off
– a patient undergoing sickle cell treatment book-ends this fascinating journey into the exciting new world of genetic editing
– its a provocative exploration of its far-reaching implications, through the eyes of the scientists who discovered it
– Bolt has composed an elegant and understated documentary that attempts to keeps things simple without becoming patronising
– consulting the very people at the forefront and core of the revolution, we get a clearer understanding of how DNA can effectively be adjusted
– exploring the possibilities, targeting some of the misnomers and addressing the far-reaching ethical issues, it makes for compelling viewing
– referencing Gattaca, Jurassic Park and archive footage, Human Nature looks at the argument for and against without censoring his interviewee’s perspectives
– there’s clearly a lot more debate that needs to happen, but the bottom line is that genetic engineering could become a reality in the near future

An excellent 8 on the splingometer!

And finally a movie now on Showmax…


What if the only way two young Kwazulu Natal boys can defeat the bullying local crime lord who’s threatening their families, is through their belief that one can be a Bollywood hero. Feisty… See full summary »

Writer-Director: Judy Naidoo

Stars: Aaqil Hoosen, Shaan Nathoo and Amith Sing

– The Kings of Mulberry Street is a nostalgic slice-of-life set in the fictional Sugar Hill district during the ’80s
– a buddy movie about the misadventures of two Indian kids from different walks of life, you could describe it as a Bollywood version of Cinema Paradiso meets Home Alone, paying tribute to classic ’80s Bollywood movies and their heroes
– centred on the boys in their bid to rise above their circumstances and trump resident gangsters, they discover a common love for Bollywood movies sneaking into the local cinema
– taken from the kids perspective, it allows for a naive tone, yet you’re never quite sure if it was made for kids or adults
– the colours are vibrant with some beautiful shots of Kwazulu-Natal’s sweeping vistas
– it’s notoriously difficult directing children and while sweet and full of mischief, the performances aren’t quite natural enough
– while there’s a festive spirit of fun bubbling under, it generally feels contrived and inconsistent
– it’s cute at times with one or two moments, but isn’t quite funny or charming enough to coast on its comedy
– The Kings of Mulberry Street makes for breezy family viewing, but it remains lightweight and never matches the fun of the final closing credits dance number

A flat 5 on the splingometer!

So just to wrap up…

ATLANTICS… while inconsistent, this supernatural mystery romance drama is elevated by poetic storytelling and soulful direction… A solid 7!

HUMAN NATURE… an elegant, informative and clearly presented documentary about the forefront of genetic engineering… An excellent 8

THE KINGS OF MULBERRY STREET… while colourful, nostalgic and fun, this buddy adventure comedy tribute is heavy-handed, naive and lacks charm… A flat 5!

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