Tarsem Singh is considered a crazy genius, and that’s why I like his movies so much. Like the famous line from the cult hit Jerry Maguire, “You had me at hello,” he had me hooked before even directing a single feature film.
The pleasing way in which he shot the video for the mammoth R.E.M hit “Losing My Religion” screamed out ‘here is a talent worth watching.’ And then in 2000, The Cell happened. I remember bunking class to watch the ‘trippy’ movie playing at a screen near our college.
He got better with The Fall, in 2006, and The Immortals, five years later. Someone once said geniuses need time to recharge their creative batteries. In Tarsem’s case, that (among others) explained the long years between movies.
So I was skeptic going to watch Mirror Mirror, a retelling of the classic Snow white and the Seven Dwarves tale, as it was his second full-length feature film in as many years. Would the back-to-back releases have diluted his genius?
The first few frames put me at ease. From the beginning, when the flashback story is told in a dream puppetry sequence, I was assured he had lost none of his touch.
Casting Julia Roberts as the evil queen was a stroke of genius. The actress, whom fans love to love, carried the role on her shoulders effortlessly. Lily Collins, as the fresh-faced Snow White, was an excellent choice as well. The way she transforms from being a girl who never speaks back to the one wielding the sword is unbelievable.
The costumes add to the movie’s soul. Some of them are magically inspired creations, and the chess-like game sequence, which the queen is involved in, is one of the highlights.
And ah, the dwarves… they probably had the most fun while filming! Some of them are a scream and provide the film’s lighter moments. The way dwarves ‘become’ giants with the help of retractable stilts has to be seen to be believed.
Sometimes, the film's mood turns dark abruptly, especially when the evil queen opens a portal from her colorful world into a parallel universe ruled by grey and black. I loved the secret path between the two worlds. Genius.
Overall, the movie is everything you expect a Tarsem Singh feature to be; full of life, color, zest, over-the-top scenarios and passionate storytelling.
Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars. Go with an open mind and lose yourself in the magic world created by Tarsem ‘the’ Singh!
– Taita TS
Image: Mirror Mirror