“Monday Morning Glory,” first feature for writer-director Ming Jin Woo, is an intriguing docudrama-style exploration of nationalist terrorism and government information control in the wake of a fictive bombing. Contrasting an official staged re-enactment for the press with flashbacks to the events themselves, deliberately ambiguous drama poses questions that will seem timely to fest auds worldwide — though few are likely to find pic as daring as home-turf Malaysian viewers.
Under the eagle eye and crocodile smile of a police chief (Patrick Teoh), journalists and human rights advocates are shepherded through the steps a small rural cel of young Muslim men took before bombing a touristy nightclub — at a cost of 199 mostly native-lives — to protest the nation’s increasing Westernization. Those actions are confessed — mostly at machine gun-point by now-humbled conspirator Gozi (Azman Hassan). Yet the group’s actual leader is kept gagged, for dubious reasons, and savagely beaten when he tries shouting a message to the visitors. Present-tense sequences aren’t quite as convincing as the flashbacks, due to some amateurish perfs (especially from the smug journos), but crisply lensed pic is otherwise aptly naturalistic, provocative and free from overt editorializing.