'STAR' by Russel Adam Morton - The LaSalle Show '09

I bet there must be a thousand and one ways to tell this story. ‘STAR’ is a semi-fantastical story about a regular office worker who meets a stranger and discovers a ‘new’ side to himself. Aren’t all love stories like that? Well, this is not exactly a love story, it is more like an urban fairytale about ‘coming-out’ of our concrete confines. The film is very much a free-spirited stroll in the park without too much narrative confinement. This is also its Achilles heel because after repeated dancing and revelry, we already get the point of the importance of setting yourself free. At least it had a proper ending that closes the lid on the story’s development.

Keith is a regular office worker who drags his feet to work. Workplace is a ‘Orwellean’ office where the boss is on stand-by to catch latecomers. Keith who is late escapes the bosses’ surveillance. In the unusually cramped and restrained environment, Keith is suffocating and eventually sneaks his way out for some fresh air. This is when ‘Star’, a mysterious gypsy-like Indian girl bumps into him and proclaims her ‘love’ for him – an unconditional love that smells like its from another galaxy or dimension. So she takes Keith on a stroll down the Singapore River, like a tourist, doing touristy things like watching buskers, taking the bumboat and sitting on the ‘bungee’ swing thingey at Clarket Quay. So I have 2 interpretations here – the point of it is either to teach Keith to smell the roses that always been blooming in his own soil, so the makers of this film are pretty fresh to Singapore and still have a sense of novelty about these acitivities. I was watching the film in the middle of one of the hottest periods in Singapore and I wondered how sweaty the shoot must have been. I mean, I have never seen anyone dance to busking music like they did under the punishing afternoon sun!

A good 5 minutes could really be cut from the film because of the repetitiveness of the motifs. It was not long before my wide-eyed, innocent appreciation of this god-sent cheerleader turned sour. Either that, the film could explore the emotional and ideological shifts within Keith more to make its point clearer. Or tell us more about Star beyond her colorful rags…. Oops drapes. Incidentally, ‘STAR’ was a good respite from the other films that were droning in a common tone about family and its usual issues.
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