A Throw of Dice - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

A Throw of Dice Reviews

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May 23, 2014
Lavish & melodramatic.
March 31, 2014
Definitely set in India. You can tell by all the tigers and whatnot (don't tell Michael Bay, he still thinks they live in Egypt or something.) Decent story.
February 18, 2014
Interesting musical score
½ February 18, 2014
worth watching for the fusion of indian and german cinema alone! it's german style is very evident and the sets/costume design are beautiful. great silent movie acting and a satisfying ending make this a great visual treat!
February 18, 2014
Beautiful music. Just a really beautiful movie.
February 18, 2014
A Throw of Dice is a little known Indian silent epic from German director Franz Osten. Released in 1929 this oft- looked over gem is a near masterpiece of stunning visual beauty and scope, employing over 10,000 extras much of the film has scores of peasants and soldiers filling the entire frame with an energy and power very few films are ever able to reproduce. Despite the fact that it hasn't received much acclaim in the past it recently went through a re-release throughout numerous cities about two years ago playing to large crowds, in areas like Chicago's Grant park or London's Trafalgar Square.

The film itself is a gem, it's stunning visuals helping to create a fairy tale within it's own world. It does justice to the romantic ideal of India and does so with great charm and ease. The film is loosely based on the Mahabharata and is at it's heart a love story, and a fairly good one at that. The film opens in the middle of a dangerous hunt, the two participants are two kings (Ranjit played by Charu Roy and Sohan played by Himansu Rai) who will find themselves vying for the love of the beautiful peasant girl Sunita (played by Seeta Devi). The narrative and most of the plot elements are fairly typical and are probably the most outdated aspect of the film where much of the story itself appears clich√?¬© and even at times pretty silly. However to dwell to long on these aspects of the film is to miss the point, being that the film is a visual stunner. The exotic locals, fantastic costumes and set pieces overflow the film with character. The scope of the film also cannot be understated, it really is a site to behold as the camera maneuvers it's way down to street level in a city filled to the brim with extras. These extras are essentially just local people doing it for nothing and it lends such a credibility and a certain unexplainable charm which is a part of nearly every frame of film.

The film is still struggles to overcome a couple faults, one being the character of Ranjit one of the kings. He is constatntly being placed under siege by king Sohan, a rival leader pushing for control of his kingdom. During the hunt Sohan sends one of his subordinates to assassinate Ranjit, the assassin ultimately fails but succeeds in seriously injuring Ranjit. Ranjit is helped to a small hut off the hunting trail. This is where he meets Sunita and this where the core of the story launches itself from. Ranjit ends up brushing off the botched assassination attempt as a harmless mistake but throughout the film seems to consistently convince himself that Sohan is not a threat and completely dismisses evidence to the contrary, eventually he nearly loses everything to... you guessed it, a throw of dice due to his seemingly insatiable quench for gambling. Unfortunately this sort of obliviousness that Ranjit displays through the film makes him hard to root for or really care about, I mean how has a guy like this managed to stay in power for so long?

Another fault of the movie is what seems to come off as a pretty unconvincing love between Ranjit and Sunita which becomes the most predominate part of the film fairly early on. The problem is that despite the film being described as an epic, it's actually less than 80 minutes long and so the building of a convincing relationship is left to the mercy of a short running time.

A Throw of Dice is ultimately a good film made great through the strength of it's visuals. The composition of many shots are brilliant, the life and spectacle of the film can be tremendous at times, it's truly a great film to viewed. Despite my own personal inexperience with Indian cinema, I find it hard to imagine this not remaining a favorite from the silent era for me. Also a special note is that on the Kino released DVD of the film, which is the one I viewed, there is a fantastic score by composer Nitin Sawhney which fits the film so well. It really is one of the best aspects of the film and helps make the more romantic scene's more romantic, the excitement more exciting the film more involving.
½ February 18, 2014
Beautiful. The score alone was absolutely fantastic.
As old silent movies, with ridiculously huge budgets go... this one is a must see!
½ February 18, 2014
More of a curiosity than a great film in its own right, the new restoration Indian-German co-production looks fantastic. There are lots of odd culture-clash moments. For example, the sets are very influenced by German films of the day and underneath the gorgeous costumes, the characters' morality is very Western. The acting is more realistic than what is normally found in silent film, but the new score is iffy. It plays too safely. It doesn't use enough Indian instruments.

Regardless, this will be of interest to silent movie buffs.
½ February 18, 2014
Old school!! Cecil B. De Mille style black & white silent filmmaking. Watched this outdoors with The London Symphony Orchestra playing Nitin Sawhney's score live. It was an awesome experience. I also enjoyed the silent movie overacting. Overall an OK film but Awesome with the live score. I am curious to know how the original score holds up?
February 18, 2014
A film where the underlying morality is as wholesome and edifying as the images are expensive and lush; think "Devdas" meets "Dr. Mabuse".
February 18, 2014
Showing in Bradford later this month, I think.
February 18, 2014
wow, this is really one hell of a culture trip. you wonder if India kept working like this and what kind of cinema would be there today. Quality and workmanship is high here and those same stylization was brought forward but the depth in here was one of a kind, beautiful and tender and never delving deep into a rigid form of terse melodrama but something much more beautiful, melodrama but wonderful.
½ November 29, 2013
The follow up film from Shiraz that fails to match but is just as fun & melodramatic as it's predecessor.

The story of a king who is mad gambler but scores big when he wins in a dice game & wins the most beautiful woman in the land.

the husband of this woman vows to save her & wins back everything his castle, woman & servants in another game of dice 20 years later.

Beautiful locations, exotic costumes & unforgettable art direction. It's a great film that looks better than ever now due to its careful restoration, a timeless early Bollywood classic.
½ July 28, 2010
Excellently photographed and well-choreagraphed folk-tale adaption, but suffers from a sense of detatchment.
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