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Before the Rains


Stars: Linus Roache, Rahul Bose, Nandita Das, Jennifer Ehle, John Standing, Leopold Benedict

Director: Santosh Sivan

Tragedy, Somerset Maugham-style. It's India in 1937, still under British rule. Plantation owner Moores (Roache), far from his wife (Ehle) and son (Benedict), has unwisely embarked on an affair with his (married) housemaid (Das). This can only end in tears, and it's hard to believe either of them can ever have thought otherwise.

With his right-hand man, TK (Bose), Moores is also engaged in the epic task of building a road, although support from his banker (Standing) is precarious at best. After Moores and his mistress are spotted making love in a secluded spot, his wife arrives for a visit, and the maid is beaten by her bullying husband. Matters rather rapidly come to the boil, as they have done in these things ever since the days when Bette Davis shot her lover in The Letter.

Roache and Standing seem well at home in these colonial surroundings and the scenery, shot on location in beautiful Kerala, is just out of this world.

The plot may seem contrived but, if you like this kind of Maugham/Conrad melodrama, this is about as good these days as you're likely to be offered.

David Quinlan

UK 2007. UK Distributor: Metrodome. Colour.
97 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 21 Jul 2008