Before The Rains review

Ismail Merchant died three years ago and James Ivory has nothing to do with it, but this ’30s tragic melodrama has Merchant-Ivory stamped all over it. Plantation owner and walking colonialist metaphor Henry Moores (Linus Roache, solid) is having a bally, lovely time – getting jiggy in the Kerala jungle with his Indian servant (Nandita Das, solid) while building a road to riches through it. Then everything goes to shit. His wife ( Jennifer Ehle, solid) turns up. Suspicions boil over. The workers strike. A gun goes off. Someone dies. Usual deal. Gorgeous but thuddingly obvious, this potboiler was directed by India’s Santosh Sivan, the cinematographer behind bomber-girl drama The Terrorist. Regrettably, he now seems less interested in emotion than the wondrous, sensual colours of his native land.


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