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THE POOL, 2007
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THE POOL,  MOVIE POSTERTHE POOL, 2007
Movie Reviews

Directed by: Chris Smith

Cast: Jhangir Badshah, Venkatesh Chavan, Ayesha Mohan
Review by Jarred Thomas


SYNOPSIS:

A boy in abject poverty works in a hotel and becomes obsessed with a swimming pool in the opulent hills of Panjim, Goa, India. His life gets turned upside-down when he attempts to meet the mysterious family who lives at the house.

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REVIEW:

A young room boy named Ventatesh, works at a hotel when he notices from his perch in a mango tree a beautiful garden with a pristine pool hidden behind a wall. Compelled to swim in it, Ventatesh offers his services to the opulent owner of the home. However during his time with the owner Ventatesh develops into a better man, and suddenly he finds himself interested in the people around him, including the ownerís daughter.

The Pool is a sweet, charming character study that quietly explores the life of an impoverished boy and his relationship with the owner, his daughter, his own family and his only friend. Chris Smith does an excellent job at simply telling a story without ever sensationalizing it or overwhelming it with conventional coming of age drama. Itís quite remarkable.

Smith should also be praised for his ability to effectively and subtly convey an individualís perspective on life and people through brief conversations, actions, and decisions characters make. The dialogue is smart, believable and distinctive. There are so many coming of age stories that try to express a characterís struggle or idea but end up coming off as if their reading from a script.

Perhaps itís because Smith is a documentary filmmaker that he was able to perfectly capture human drama without having to manipulate characters for the sake of driving home the sense of insightful truth. Itís truly effective. Plus, it feels honest.

While Smith has a great documentarian's eye for telling detail and feeling of captured reality, the actors are also exceptional in delivering poignant performance through the subtly in their acting. It feels as if the actors are not actually actors but people who the camera just happened to follow around. Thatís how natural and true their performances feel.

More than anything The Pool is about human nature through the plights of a young boy trying to survive in an impoverished country. Yet Ventatesh is enriched with virtues and an education passed down to him from the wisdom of the owner who takes a personal interest in Ventatesh. Their talks provide some of the most profound inspirational views on life and the essentials to living a quality life, and what that means exactly.

There is no standout actor here, just a standout story. Human nature, when done correctly, is always compelling, and it seems Chris Smith has found the right pipeline to tap into a fountain of life experience and the nature of man. The Pool is an excellent film that beautifully tells a coming of age story with a message of inspiration through honest characters that feels genuine and relatable.

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