THE CROW’S EGG (Kaakkaa Muttai) | REVIEW

THE CROW’S EGG aka Kaakkaa Muttai is my film of 2015, the best I have seen so far and it will be tough to beat. It is my THE ROCKET for 2015 and a sublime look at Indian slums, poverty, childhood, corporations, commercialism and pride. It is in the vein of SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE but better, it is told through the eyes of two young brothers and is the feature debut for M. Manikandan. It is screening as part of the 2015 Sydney Film Festival but the rights have been purchased for distribution from Transmission Films so there is a good chance for cinema distribution in the future. It has a festival rating but comes across as M rated and it runs for 99mins. It has won awards or been officially selected for the Toronto Film Festival, Los Angeles Indian Film Festival, Gold Coast Film Festival, Rome Film Festival, Dubai International Film Festival, Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival and now the Sydney Film Festival. 

 

the crow's egg movie poster
THE CROW’S EGG | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER IMAGE

 

BY JASON KING

Little Crow’s Egg and Big Crow’s Egg (named after the snack they pluck daily from a nearby tree) are two young boys living in the slums of Chennai. Their level of poverty is something we can barely comprehend and yet they still have fun in their lives, they adapt to what they have and know little beyond their environment. Their mother spends most of the family money paying for legal fees to get her husband, the boy’s father, out of jail. Her struggle is an epic battle to keep the children fed and with a roof over their head and she is assisted by her mother-in-law, the boy’s grandmother.

The boys are normal boys, they want cool things and are influenced by what they see and hear. They have a “friend” of sorts they speak to regularly who lives in a gated community and talks to them through the fence. He has cool things and the boys are influenced by this. Near to their slums a new pizza place opens up and a celebrity opens it, the boys are mesmerised, hypnotised even and nothing will stop their goal to try this new “pizza” thing.

 

the crow's egg movie image
THE CROW’S EGG | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | Vignesh as Periya Kaaka Muttai
Ramesh as Chinna Kaaka Muttai

 

The film is filled with abundant hurdles to get to the pizza and the boys face every challenge with determination and strength of character, watching them throw themselves headlong into their mission is told brilliantly and first time feature director, M. Manikandan tells a tale of the Indian slums better than Hollywood and his love for the boys gets so much out of them as actors. The two boys, Vignesh and Ramesh are incredible onscreen and have amazing comic timing and genuine humour but M. Manikandan never backs away from the harshness and divide in classes and at times this is hard to watch. While the film has a serious message it is told with such skill and humour to make it thoroughly enjoyable to watch, will it change the situation of the slums? Not in the slightest, but it does make people more aware and will also give them a good laugh.

THE CROW’S EGG also shows the politics and running of the slums, and this is incredibly interesting; corrupt and totally their own community with laws and politics, something the boys aren’t too versed in. But one thing I did truly love was the slums do look after their own, albeit if only for personal benefit.

 

the crow's egg movie image
THE CROW’S EGG | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | THE BOYS AND GRANDMA

 

The cinematography is spectacular, as is the music, and all the acting is flawless. I did find the corporation a little overly comical but I guess that is the point, that two kids could unravel a corporation and that social media can tear the greatest down.

The strongest part of the film that resonated with me the most was the pride and dignity of the boys, forced to be older and more mature than they really should be they live in a society that beats them down regularly, even when they follow all the rules to the letter, but while it hurts them and affects them they stay true to who they are and stay on their course.

The “incident” pissed me off but that one thing seen through a mother’s eyes broke my heart. How far can you beat a people down? Capitalism doesn’t work people!! There cannot be wealthy people without poor people. And so there will always be corruption and it is something no-one will ever do anything about.

But, that being said, the outcome of THE CROW’S EGG is hilarious, I totally knew they were going to say what they did but they deserved it all.

Truly great film, if you get the chance see it!!! I will update when it gets a release date locked in!!

Oh and one thing I have to mention – every time a cigarette or an alcoholic beverage was onscreen a warning message pops up in the lower left of the image like a warning on a cigarette packet – for the first 5mins I was bummed by it but by the end I hardly noticed and actually like the idea, it could deter smoking in movies and hopefully lessen kids from thinking it is cool :).

 

4 and a Half Pops