One Less God
R0 - Australia - Umbrella Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: James-Masaki Ryan (10th November 2019).
The Film

"One Less God" (2017)

On November 26, 2008, a group of ten Islamic terrorists from Lashkar-e-Taiba launched a series of bombings and attacks in Mumbai over a four day period, killing 174 and wounding over 300 in the process. Of all the places where attacks occurred, the five-star luxurious Taj Mahal Palace Hotel was one of the biggest targets, where 31 people were killed during the siege. While many were rescued quickly, there were quite a lot of people who were trapped for days, locked in rooms and not knowing if it was either help at the door, other patrons looking for other survivors, or the terrorists looking to find hostages or people to kill. "One Less God" takes a look at the Mumbai attacks from the perspective of some hotel patrons. Whether they are backpacking foreigners, musicians, businessmen, journalists, the elderly, or children, they must do whatever possible together and trust one another in order to survive the ordeal.

Over the years there have been a number of films based around the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai. The Indian film "The Attacks of 26/11", the French film "Taj Mahal" (2015), the international coproduction "Hotel Mumbai" (2018) and the Australian film "One Less God" in 2017. "One Less God" takes a look at a group of people trapped inside the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, all coming from different backgrounds. Sean (played by Joseph Mahler Taylor) is on a spiritual journey in India. Oz (played by Nathan Kaye) is an Australian rock star who is there to renew his vows with his wife Anna (played by Nicole Fantl). Atiya (played by Mihika Rao) is a young girl who visits her dying mother in the hospital, and staying with her grandfather (played by Sukhraj Deepak) at the hotel. Yang (played by Quentin Yung) is a businessman whose deal is not going as well as expected. Eda (played by Reilly O'Byrne Inglis) and Selim (played by Igor Kreyman) are siblings from Turkey that are not having much fun during their stay in the country. The cast is plentiful and it's interesting to see a group of people from various backgrounds and cultures having to trust each other to survive, but unfortunately "One Less God" doesn't have a strong enough core in the backgrounds of the characters or connections.

It is an ensemble piece, but as the film does not have a very strong central character or particularly well defined supporting characters, the emotional connection between the audience and story is on the minimal side. Even with the slightly over two hour runtime, the audience never gets to know some of the characters, and their connections never reach anywhere and they are a bit on the cut and paste side. On the other hand with the terrorists, The two that attack the hotel are portrayed as cocaine snorting directionless young guys carrying out their orders, and it seems like a strange choice to make them drug users in the story. As for the setting, being a very small film, it was not shot in the actual hotel or at a large scale hotel either. Instead the Carrington Hotel in Australia was doubled in many scenes as well as some studio sets. It is very obvious that what is portrayed on screen is not a luxury hotel with the room sizes and the various settings such as the real hotel's grand entrance not being shown, and it is unconvincing to say the least, with multiple small corridors being reused. To say, there are positive notes to be said about "One Less God" as well. What the film lacks in size, it makes up for in presentation. It is very well shot and very well edited, using the spaces very well and techniques such as high frame rate slow motion, closeups, and tracking shots, and ramping up tension when necessary. While the story itself might be lacking, it is visually an excellent production.

"One Less God" is director and writer Lliam Worthington's feature film debut and received some positive notes at the 2017 Byron Bay International Film Festival winning Best Film, and winning two awards at the 2017 Dances With Films. Critical reception has been mixed with the strength being the editing and pacing, though there was criticism with the characters and narrative. While it does have its weaknesses, the film is certainly an interesting watch from a technical standpoint of making something seem grand from a small scale, and Worthington being a director to watch for in the future.

Note this is a region 0 PAL DVD

Video

Umbrella Entertainment presents the film in the theatrical 1.78:1 aspect ratio in the PAL format. Shot digitally, the film has a dark look with a mostly brown tone throughout, with nothing looking particularly white. The colors are not particularly on the vibrant side which seems to be the intended tone of the full production. While at the opening of the film in the montage there are bright colors to be seen, during the siege they are not to be found. The image is quite clear, but sometimes solid walls and floors can show signs of compression and difficulty in color reproduction. The newsreel footage that is sometimes spliced in between looks weak, but it is accurate to the footage provided.

The film's runtime is 132:40.



















Audio

English/Hindi/French/Turkish Dolby Digital 5.1
The original multilingual audio track comes in 5.1. The dialogue is centered while the surrounds are used for the ambient music, explosions, gunfire, and other effects. The dialogue is well balanced and there are no major issues to be mentioned. Overall a solid track for the film. It is multilingual with characters speaking a variety of languages, with about 75% being in English.

There are burned-in English subtitles for the non-English portions in a yellow font. They are well timed and easy to read.

Extras

Unfortunately no extras are provided. There is no menu, with the film beginning once the disc is started.

The trailer which is not on the disc has been embedded below, courtesy of Umbrella Entertainment.

Packaging

The packaging states "region 4 only" but is in fact region 0.

Overall

"One Less God" is a big story of a true terrorist attack made on a smaller scale, with great attention to the terror and intensity. Unfortunately there isn't a strong narrative with the many characters and their connections lacking to make an emotional core to the story. The Umbrella Entertainment DVD has a good presentation, but lacking extras entirely.

The Film: C+ Video: B Audio: A Extras: F- Overall: C+

 


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