Malaysia is known to the whole world for its beautiful skyscraper of the Petronas Twin Towers and of course, the mouth-watering Malaysian food. It’s now time for the world to put it’s local movie entertainment scene on the map because have you seen how brilliant some of these Malaysian movies are being produced and made? Dare I say, some could even be nominated for an Oscar award. Yes, our very own local movies are breaking barriers and hoops to achieve the best of the best to be on par with international standards.
Cover image by: (L) : astroawani (M): colourless opinions (R): Youtube
However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows for the local people to accept or perhaps eager to watch it. According to an article by Hype.my, in the year of 2017, the Malaysian film industry produced and released 59 movies that only drew in 4.5million from admissions. It even revealed that the figure has since declined from 2016 with a total of 7.16 million admissions.
It’s time for everyone to step up and support the film scene here in Malaysia as the film-makers are widening their film genre range and not your stereotypical same formula of the genre (mat rempit, love, horror-comedy). Here are some of the Malaysian movies you need to be watching or be proud of;
1. Rise: Ini Kalilah
Released exactly one year ago, Rise: Ini Kalilah takes its inspiration by Malaysian from all walks of life and from around the world, coming together to vote for change for a new Malaysia. Each story that unfolds shows what it means to be a Malaysian – respect, hope, standing up for yourself, fighting for your rights, redemption and building the future. This movie is also available on Netflix so no excuse not to watch it now.
Directors: Nik Amir Mustapha, Saw Teong Hin
Cast: Mira Filzah, Remy Ishak, Jenn Chia, Mark Odea
Genre: Political Drama
IMDb rating: 5.7/10
2. Crossroads: One Two Jaga
Famous Malaysian actor, Bront Palarae produced this drama action film that earning respect and recognition, such as winning the Best Film Award at the 30th Malaysian Film Festival. One Two Jaga depicts the life of an abused domestic labourer that attempts to escape Indonesia while an idealistic cop tries to fight corruption. It’s a refreshing experience on the non-bias and raw emotions of the film that made it a box office hit. Also available on Netflix.
Cast: Rosdeen Suboh, Ario Bayu, Amerul Affendi, Asmara Abigail
Genre: Drama, Crime
IMDb rating: 6.6/10
3. Ola Bola
If you’ve not watched Ola Bola, I seriously believe you all need to watch this. Besides instilling patriotism into your hearts while watching this movie, you’ll be able to see the sportsmanship and teamwork moral values in this film. It’s a 2016 movie that highlights on the glories of the Malaysian national football team which successfully entered the 1980 summer Olympics. Inspired by true events, this original story also focuses on the celebration of when the entire nation stood as one. Ola Bola was a box office hit ranking in about 16.7 million ringgit.
Director: Chiu Keng Guan
Cast: Luqman Hafidz, Bront Palarae, Marianne Tan, J.C Chee
Genre: Sports, Drama
IMDb rating: 7.7/10
4. Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam
Who says Malaysian can’t make scary horror films? Take a look at this 2004 Malaysian horror film that earned the main actress, Maya Karin recognition as the Best Actress in the Asia-Pacific Film Festival. The summary of the movie begins when a restless spirit Pontianak (vampire/banshee) named Meriam who seeks revenge upon those who killed her. You can even watch the sequel to Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam 2 which was released in 2005. This was one of the Malaysian made movies that put us on the map.
Director: Shuhaimi Baba
Cast: Maya Karin, Rosyam Nor, Ida Nerina, Aziz Sattar
Genre: Horror, Romance
IMBd rating: 5.7/10
Directed by the visionary of Malaysian films, Yasmin Ahmad impressed us and the whole world with the 2005 Malaysian teen film by Sepet. It tells a tale of an interracial love that blooms between a Chinese boy and a Malay girl. Sepet was such an amazing movie from the start that awards starting rolling in for them. Having won at the Malaysian Film Festival, Tokyo International Film Festival to Yasmin Ahmad and the Grand Prix winner at the Creteil International Women’s Film Festival. It’ll certainly tickle your funny bones and invoke emotions in you with Sepet.
Director: Yasmin Ahmad
Cast: Choo Seong Ng, Sharifah Amani, Ida Nerina, Adibah Noor
Genre: Romantic, Comedy, Drama
IMDb rating: 7.1/10
6. PASKAL: The Movie
Another latest brilliance that was born by the Malaysian movie scene is none other than Paskal. Just think of it as Captain Phillips movie but in a slightly different version. PASKAL is an elite unit in the Royal Malaysian Navy. Paskal: the movie depicts the life of the trained PASKAL team that embarks on a mission to rescue a tanker that was taken over by the Somalian pirates besides navigating through their personal life and issues. Worth knowing that this movie is also inspired by a true story and is the most expensive Malaysian film ever made and it all paid off when the overall profit of the movie was almost RM30million.
Director: Adrian Teh
Cast: Hairul Azreen, Ammar Alfian, Jasmine Suraya Chin, Henley Hii
Genre: Military, Action
IMDb rating: 6.9/10
The award-winning Malaysian Tamil film, Jagat becomes one of the top picks of local movies to watch. Based in the early 1900s Malaysia, a Tamilian boy faces pressure from his immigrant father to focus on school but is drawn to his uncle’s life of crime. The social drama and issues highlighted in the movie certainly bring out the attention of the audience to watch more besides the brilliant acting by the main child character named, Appoy. Jagat is a Tamil slang derived from Malay word which loosely means as bad. Worth noting Jagat won the Best Malaysian Film award in the 28th Malaysia Film Festival and Best Director too.
Director: Shanjey Kumar Perumal
Cast: Harvind Raj, Kuben Mahadevan, Jibrail Rajhula, Marup Mustapah
Genre: Drama, Crime
IMDb rating: 7.7/10
8. Ombak Rindu
Based on the novel of the same name written by Fauziah Ashari, Ombak Rindu delves into the life of an orphan, village girl name Izzah who has to endure a lot to find happiness. Then comes arrogant and rich Hariz whose life and values transformed after meeting Izzah but in a whole different circumstance. Maya Karin stars in this box office movie hit that earns her once again Best Actress at the Malaysian Film Festival. Oh, remember to keep tissue as spare by your side because this movie is a real tear-jerker!
Director: Osman Ali
Cast: Maya Karin, Aaron Aziz, Lisa Surihani
Genre: Drama, Romance
IMDb rating: 6.3/10
9. Fly By Night
Fly By Night is a 2018 Malaysian-Chinese neo-noir crime thriller film that’s been earning good reviews. The film follows four taxi drivers who extort money from wealthy passengers. However, when one thing goes wrong from the impulsive brother behaviour, a police inspector and the criminal gang path intertwined. It has even been screened at multiple film festivals internationally, prominently as the Busan International Film Fest 2018, Santa Barbara Film Fest 2019 and the New York Asian Film Fest 2019. It’s a movie plot you never saw it coming.
Director: Zahir Omar
Cast: Bront Palarae, Fabian Loo, Sunny Pang, Ruby Yap
IMDb rating: 6.2/10
10. The Journey
Before the director of Ola Bola scored big with that movie, The Journey was one of the first notable mentions with the film The Journey. The story follows a father that finally daughter to marry an English man that she met while pursuing her studies in the UK with only one condition, for the English lad to follow her father on a journey around the nation to deliver their wedding invitation. You can see the antics and cross-cultural differences that will surely make your day. The Journey is currently ranked ninth-highest grossing Malaysian film of all-time (RM 16.87 million) and won four awards from six nominations on the 27th Malaysian Film Festival.
Director: Chiu Keng Guan
Cast: Ben Pfeiffer, Joanne Yew, Sai Peng Lee
Genre: Drama, Comedy
IMDb rating: 7.4/10
Dukun was a controversial film at one point that it had to be banned 11 years ago and now it isn’t. The film is loosely based on the true story of the gruesome murder of a former Malaysian politician, Datuk Mazlan Idris by Mona Fandey, a once-popular singer turned witch doctor. It’s a tale about the lure of riches, power, eternal youth and blood that must be spilt to achieve all of that. The movie that took almost 12 years to give the green light to finally air it to the public in 2018, finally earned its spot in the box office hit with a whopping RM 10 million. Also, expect some gore scenes in Dukun.
Director: Dain Said
Cast: Umie Aida, Namron, Bront Palarae, Sofi Jikan
Genre: Thriller, Horror
IMDb rating: 6.8/10
12. Puteri Gunung Ledang
Based on Malay folklore, this movie tells the story on the Malay legend of Gunung Ledang princess, who is said to have lived on top of Gunung Ledang, and a Malaccan’s Sultan effort to court her against a backdrop of war and mysticism. Plus, this movie was the first big-budget Malaysian movie ever made, with a production cost of USD 4 million. This fantasy film earned awards at the Asia Pacific Film Festival, Asian First Film Festival and the Malaysian Film Festival.
Director: Teong Hin Saw
Cast: Tiara Jacquelina, M.Nasir, Adlin Aman Ramlee
Genre: Fantasy, Drama
IMDb rating: 6.5/10
Watch all these movies and you’ll have a sense of patriotism and love for our film industry! #supportyourlocalfilms