Apr 10 2017

Kaatru Veliyidai

Published by under Review,Tamil Cinema

kaatru-veliyidai

In Raavanan and then even more in Kadal, we saw a clear change in Manirathnam’s films. Straightforward stories were replaced more with universal themes, characters became more complex, having been painted in darker shades of gray and the romances became heavier. But those films didn’t bring him much BO success and with OK Kanmani, he went back to basics and gave us a simple, cute love story with almost no drama. In Kaatru Veliyidai, he tries to do both. The film is essentially a love story but the characters are more complex and the romance is set against the backdrop of  war. Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked very well.

The romance is between Varun(Karthi), an Indian Air Force pilot and Leela(Aditi Rao Hydari), a doctor (the setting is Srinagar, allowing for some gorgeously breathtaking visuals throughout the movie). That the romance isn’t going to be  traditional is evident right from the start. When Leela first sees Varun, he is in a jeep with his girlfriend. The next time she sees him is when he is wheeled into the hospital badly injured and she attends to him. And its only later that he sees her (this is more interestingly shown. As she shines a light into his eye, we see her reflection inside his eye).

The film begin with Varun in a Pakistani jail. But the sequences in Pakistan add nothing to the story. The segments serves little purpose other than allowing Varun to reminisce about Leela and convince us about the depth of his love. The first scene shows a bloodied Varun talk about solitary confinement and torture but that’s it. After that he spends time in the yard talking to his fellow prisoners and even enjoying the rain. The subsequent escape scenes are amateurish and feel rushed with no sense of suspense or tension.

Right from Karthik in Mouna Raagam, Manirathnam’s romantic heroes have been charming and cute. Its not just the heroine who likes him but the audience too. But Varun here breaks the trend. Sure, he has his sweet moments(one is the the catchy Azhagiye… number). But he is also aggressive and chauvinistic and this side of him shows up several times when he is with Leela. There are instances where he talks about beating her if she doesn’t listen to him, rudely shuts her up when she tries to smooth things between him and his father, physically hurts her by twisting her arm, proudly brags to his friends about making her toe his line(even they seem uncomfortable hearing this) and backs out of the relationship with vague excuses at a key point. We get a few hints about why he has turned out this way but that doesn’t change the fact that he isn’t traditional romantic leading man material. Leela isn’t as radically different as Varun but it isn’t that easy to understand her either. She isn’t a complete doormat as she stands up to Varun and tells him what she doesn’t like about him. At the same time, she finds herself drawn to him and isn’t able to walk away from him.

Varun and Leela are a mismatched couple. We know this and they know this. So the film’s job is to make us believe that they should be together. It doesn’t do this too well. There is a scene where Nidhi(Rukmini), another doctor, tells Ilyaz(RJBalaji, looking very uncomfortable in a semi-serious role) that it is ‘love’. But we need more convincing than that which the film doesn’t do.

This is because the character-driven romance isn’t allowed to breathe. Seen separately, the scenes with Varun and Leela work well because the way they behave is so different from what we are used to, both in romances in general and Manirathnam’s movies in particular(situations that would normally be cute and playful in earlier Manirathnam films, like the scene where he barges into her house and talks to her while her parents are there, become serious drama here). So there are a lot of emotions and drama every time they meet. But seen as a whole, the relationship never grows. It doesn’t take a lot of time for them to fall in love and after this, we simply get a series of scenes where Varun behaves loutishly, Leela puts her foot down and Varun apologizes. We learn tidbits about both of them to fill in some blanks in their past but in the present, their relationship is stagnant and so their interactions gets repetitive very soon.

But the biggest factor that drags the movie down is Karthi’s performance. Maybe its all the movies where he has played the mischievous hero with his trademark sly look and smile but he is unable to express the passion this romance needs. His expressions look strained whenever he tries to show intensity and so the scenes where he professes his love or apologizes just don’t work(the numerous close-ups don’t help either). His performance further suffers in comparison to Aditi’s. She is fantastic, exhibiting the perfect mix of strength, vulnerability and confusion that her character needs.

10 responses so far

Apr 03 2017

Yaman

Published by under Review,Tamil Cinema

yaman

With Pichaikkaaran‘s surprise success, Vijay Antony became a bonafide star, a fact that is evidenced by the buzz around his new films. Following the film’s success, the music director-turned-actor seems to be following a simple formula for his films. They have a short, catchy title(his last 3 films were Pichaikkaaran, Saithaan and now Yaman and his next has been titled Kaali) and a twisty story that incorporates a soft, clean romance and mild humor. And Vijay Antony himself plays a character that has a few shades of gray. Yaman is a political drama but sticks to the same formula.

Yaman plays out like a rags-to-riches story in the political arena as its captures a man’s rise in politics. Thamizharasan(Vijay Antony), looking for money to pay for his grandfather’s surgery, agrees to go to jail in place of the real driver in a car accident. The jail stint pushes him into the political path as he comes between Manimaran(Marimuthu) and Selvam(Jayakumar) and through them meets Karunakaran(Thiagarajan), an ex-MLA who nurtures ambitions of becoming an MLA again. There are enough twists and double-crosses to keep things interesting as many of these characters have scores to settle with each other. So it all comes down to who gets to who first.

But Thamizharasan’s real enemy is Thangapandi, a minister. There is a history between the two of them but the interesting aspect of it is that Thamizharasan doesn’t know about it. So we know the reason behind Thangapandi’s shock on seeing Thamizharasan but Thamizharasan himself is oblivious to it. This makes the battle between them a little different with Thangapandi having the upper hand as Thamizharasan trusts him. That being said, the culmination of this aspect of their enmity isn’t very satisfactory. It doesn’t provide suitable closure to the weight of the secret that Thamizharasan was unaware of.

Thamizharasan is definitely a mass hero even if a rather soft-spoken one. He has a number slo-mo shots and no one lays a hand on him in the fight sequences. But as he gets deeper into politics, he displays a hard side that goes against the clean image that our mass heroes posses. Most of the people he goes up against are bad and his acts feel justified but the way Thamizharasan manipulates the minister’s PA(Charlie) to get what he wants shows a side of him that isn’t completely good or ethical.

A few more instances of this kind of behavior would’ve justified the title and made the character – an the film itself – more interesting, especially towards the end. It would’ve definitely added spice to the bland romance between Thamizharasan and Anjana(Mia George), an actress. I was kinda hoping that at least some of his interest in the romance would be due to the help her stardom would provide to his political aspirations but that never comes up. So the romance exists as always to pave the way for a couple of duets though the director has made an effort to make it a bit relevant by adding a small link between her and Thangapandi.

11 responses so far

Mar 30 2017

Kadugu

Published by under Review,Tamil Cinema

Director Vijay Milton started off strong with Goli Soda, where he showed us that a strong script and interesting characters can easily overcome a movie’s lack of star power to create a rousing experience. But he forgot all that as the lure of a big star vehicle and a big budget led him to make the terrible 10 Endrathukulla. Thankfully he has learned the lesson well and with Kadugu, makes a confident return to the kind of movie Goli Soda was – an intimate, character-driven film with solid characters and an interesting storyline.

‘Puli’ Pandi(Rajakumaran), a puli vesham artist, does odd jobs for the inspector(Venkatesh) at the police station. Pandi is so good that it feels like he was transplanted from a Vikraman movie. He gets an awkward introduction with a dialog designed to showcase his good heart(he will not do something bad even when no one’s looking) but he does grow on us as he does some good deeds in secret(it is never clear though where he gets the money to give away 50 Rupees or buy a brand new pair of Bata sneakers). Rajakumaran, Devayani’s husband and the butt of numerous jokes when his Thirumathi Thamizh stills were released, is a surprising choice for the role but it works.

Nambi(Bharath, finally finding a good role) is introduced as another do-gooder. But unlike Pandi, he is painted with shades of gray as the film progresses. Some of his actions come as good surprises and drive the story forward but though the motivations behind his changes are strong, the transformations themselves feel a little too quick and abrupt.

The film proceeds with a light tone initially and is peppered with funny lines from many different characters(an example is Nambi’s grandma with her focus on everyone being fed. She gets a strong punchline at the end too). The comedy with Pandi’s facebook friendship with Evi(Radhika Prasidhha, again playing a teacher) gets a bit loud but it doesn’t go on for too long and gives the opportunity for an in-joke about Rajakumaran. Anirudh(Bharath Seeni), another helper at the police station(his backstory is funnier than Pandi’s), also gets a few laughs with his one-sided love for Maga(Subiksha). There are some sharp social observations too(like how social media has made everyone find their voice, valid or not), mostly from Pandi, but they don’t destroy the film’s tone.

The way Anirudh’s efforts to impress Maga go wrong with Nambi benefiting from them are natural and it initially looks like a way of setting up the movie’s real romance. But we actually get hints about Nambi’s character from these incidents, which gradually leads to the film’s main conflict. The suffering of the girl caught in the middle of it is captured well and the way the different characters react to the incident drives the rest of the film as some of them try to protect her, some run away and others take things into their own hands. Eventually Pandi’s goodness drives his actions and makes us root for him in the slightly over-the-top but still rousing climactic fight.

4 responses so far

Mar 27 2017

Ennodu Vilaiyadu

Published by under Review,Tamil Cinema

ennodu-vilaiyadu

Ennodu Vilaiyadu has the very unique backdrop of horse racing. The sport has a reputation of being addictive and destroying families as huge amounts of money are gambled away on the races but the film doesn’t deal with that aspect of it except for a couple of warning lines at the end. Instead it uses it as the launchpad for a thriller.

We get an interesting look at the sport as we see Vikram(Bharath) keep tabs on Sharma(Yog Japee), the owner of one of the horses. We learn about both the legal and illegal aspects of it as we see the things that factor into a person’s pick of the horse(a character mentions that this is the only reason the sport is still legal) as well as the backroom dealings that go on to fix the races. And those shots of the horses dashing out of the gates and kicking up dust as they race towards the finishing line are always fun to watch.

In parallel, we also meet Sridhar(Kadhir) who has moved from Trichy to start a new job. With two young heroes, it comes as no surprise there are two romantic tracks. Vikram falls in love with Minnie(Chandini) while Sridhar rooms with Inba(Sanchita Shetty), his sister’s friend, and eventually develops feelings for her. Both the romances are unimaginative and have the flimsiest of links to the main story. Inba needs money to get back her house and Sridhar decides to help her while Minnie’s wedding to Vikram is threatened(this is brought about in a laughably contrived manner) by his huge credit card debts.

Its a little disappointing that a lot of the action happens away from the racing field but things are still closely connected to what happens there. Once the story gets going after the unnecessary romances, the focus shifts to a bag of money. The screenplay is developed interestingly as it ends up with one character who is unaware of it while there are multiple people looking for it. Some contrivances aside, these portions are interesting. A couple of fights damage the realistic feel the movie maintained until then but the multiple tracks are resolved satisfactorily through a climax that fittingly revolves around a horse race.

Comments Off on Ennodu Vilaiyadu

Mar 23 2017

Welcome Back!

Published by under Tamil Cinema

arvind-swamy   jyothika-36v
 

Tamil cinema is pretty unforgiving when it comes to giving second chances to our heroes. There have been many actors who have bounced back after after almost being written off after a string of flops but they typically had a strong fan base that never lost faith in them and so they never really went out of the limelight. But once an actor loses his standing as a hero, fades away from public memory, it has been near impossible for him to make a substantial comeback and play the central character again.

This non-happening of second chances is not for lack of trying. Mohan, who ruled the roost in the 80s, tried to play the hero again after a long gap in Anbulla Kaadhalukku but it was a disaster. More recently there was some buzz around actors like Ramki(Biriyani) and Karthik(Anegan) coming back to films but they turned out to be one-off attempts with no talk since then about them acting in any more films. The only way for heroes to continue acting is to take on character roles as actors like Prabhu and Sathyaraj have done. They have graduated to playing elder character roles but the roles they are taking up have become progressively worse(Sathyaraj’s role in Motta Shiva Ketta Shiva is a recent, sad example) and their presence no longer adds any buzz or hype to the movie.

The fate of our heroines isn’t that different. Most of them have a much shorter shelf life compared to the heroes and after a brief hiatus they come back in character roles that are significantly elder to the same heroes they paired with just a few years back. From there its a short step to TV in the form of either serials or talk shows(earlier there used to be an intermediate step of acting in devotional movies but those aren’t being made these days) where they get to play the lead.

We’ve seen many actresses from earlier eras like Radhika, Ramya Krishnan, Banupriya and Kushboo traverse this career arc. More recently, Nadhiya has been seen in many character roles. Even Simran, who was the leading heroine for so many years, couldn’t escape this as, once her time as heroine was over, she showed up in terrible films like Kicha Vayasu 16 and Ainthaam Padai(I think appearing in a Sundar. C masala film is a sign of an actress’ career hitting the nadir) before moving on to character roles with Vaaranam Aayiram and TV shows like Jackpot.

Considering this history, what Arvind Swamy has done recently is quite surprising. The actor had a decent run as a romantic hero in the 90s, acting in films with some big directors like Manirathnam, Balu Mahendra and Rajiv Menon. But not being successful as an action hero(En Swaasa Kaatre proved it quite emphatically) put his leading man status in danger and he soon disappeared from the scene. His comeback with 2013’s Kadal wasn’t very successful and I assumed that he too had joined the list of actors with failed comebacks.

But 2015’s Thani Oruvan, where he made the surprising decision to play the bad guy, has given him a completely new lease of life. He stole the film as the suave, stylish businessman and crackled in the role with style and swagger that we hadn’t seen in him before. He was again the best thing in Bogan even if his performance wasn’t that different from what he did in Thani Oruvan. Just when we thought he may be getting stereotyped comes news that he is playing the lead in some exciting new movies like Sathuranga Vettai 2(with Trisha) and Vanangamudi(with Ritika Singh). So 25 years after he was introduced as a hero, he has come full circle and is once again playing the hero. That’s quite an achievement.

If what Arvind Swamy has done is surprising, Jyothika’s comeback is even more remarkable. She had a pretty long and successful run as a heroine, acting with all top heroes of the day. Marriage pretty much sounds the death knell for our heroines and so Jyothika voluntarily moving away from films after her marriage to Suriya seemed like a pragmatic decision at the time(it seemed even more sensible after Sillunu Oru Kaadhal :)). And it seemed like the end of her film career.

But after a 6 year break, she surprised everyone by coming back to movies with 36 Vayadhinile. And it wasn’t a supporting role either. She played the lead in a woman-centric film that conveyed a strong message about female empowerment. Her performance and the film itself got generally positive reviews. But she hasn’t stopped there. She is now leading a cast of women in Magalir Mattum and has also been cast by Bala in his next film Naachiyaar, along with G.V.Prakash. More telling than those is the fact that she opted out of Vijay’s Atlee-directed film because of the script(a role that is now being done by Nithya Menen). Again, quite an achievement.

This doesn’t mean things have completely changed. I don’t think we are going to see Arvind Swamy play a mass hero or Jyothika pair up with Ajith or Vijay in a film that gives her a substantial role. But these two actors have certainly gone against the norm and added some interest and flavor to Tamil cinema today.

7 responses so far

Mar 21 2017

Train to Busan (Korean)

Published by under International Cinema

Train-to-Busan

Among the sub-genres in horror, my least favorite is the zombie movie. Most of these zombie movies end up looking the same since the story line cannot deviate much from zombies chasing humans and attacking them to create more zombies. The Korean film Train to Busan also does this but does a few other things as well to show that there is still life left in the genre after all.

As in most films in the genre, we get an opening scene with an infected deer to tell us that something is afoot. After that, it doesn’t take too long for the story to kick off as a diverse group of passengers board the titular train(the film’s only dab at humor comes here as it misdirects us into thinking that some hanky panky is going on in the bathroom but it turns out to be something completely different). A last-minute boarder is already afflicted and since anyone who is bitten by a zombie turns into one real fast, it doesn’t take long for the train to be filled with zombies intent on attacking the few remaining humans.

The film creates a central group of characters that we care about. Some of them, like a little girl Su-an and a pregnant woman Jung yu-mi, are designed to be vulnerable but others like the Su-an’s dad Seok-woo(he is taking Su-an to her mother), the pregnant woman’s husband Sang-hwa, two sisters and the members of a baseball team earn our sympathy through their actions. So there are some surprisingly emotional scenes as some of them become victims. There is also the token bad guy who acts in some pretty nasty ways at the expense of others.

But zombie movies are mainly about the chases and action as the humans try to escape their attackers and Train to Busan has some good ones. The train provides an interesting setting as the things it provides(like glass doors at either end of each car, the bathrooms, the tunnels the train passes through) are used to stop the multiple zombie attacks from feeling repetitive. A couple of stops at stations help provide additional set pieces as the crowd of zombies smash through windows and glass panes to continue their attack. There is also a well-picturized train crash at the end. The characters ensures that the chase scenes are thrilling and the fact that we do not know who will survive makes them suspenseful.

Comments Off on Train to Busan (Korean)

Mar 19 2017

Yaakkai

Published by under Review,Tamil Cinema

yaakkai

Yaakkai begins with a well-filmed scene where a car is pushed down from the rooftop of a Chennai hospital at night. When ACP Sahayam(Prakashraj) arrives at the scene the next day, we learn that the chief of the hospital Krishnamoorthy(Radharavi) was killed and then placed in the car before its fall. This sets the stage for a suspense thriller. As in recent thrillers, comedy is added to the mix with Singampuli showing up as Sahayam’s assistant but the case moves rather quickly as Sahayam finds a few clues, Krishnamoorthy’s son Sriram(Guru Somasundaram) returns from the US and a key player is killed.

Then the action shifts to Coimbatore to focus on the romance between Kathir(Krishna) and Kavitha(Swathi) and that is the film’s undoing. Kathir takes Kavitha’s photos without her knowledge and his first instinct when Kavitha faints in his arms after donating blood, is to take a selfie. So the romance has a troublesome start with Kathir not coming across as very likeable. It is never particularly charming and it is also periodically interrupted by the murder case. So it never gets us fully involved and its only bright spot is the catchy Solli Tholaiyen maa… number.

But Krishna’s performance ends up being the film’s biggest problem compared to his character’s unintended creepiness and the romance’s general blandness. We are used to seeing our heroines overact in an attempt to look cute and bubbly. But Krishna takes on that task here. He hams in every scene he is in trying to be cute and playful but fails miserably and is completely irritating. While talking about performances, Guru Somasundaram is completely miscast also. His acting and dialog delivery, especially when he talks in English, come across as artificial and unrealistic.

Even if most of Sahayam’s findings come from luck and convenient clues(like a haphazardly torn calendar sheet), his investigation keeps us marginally interested in the film. It comes as no surprise that the Kathir-Kavitha romance ends up being connected to the murder. The way the two tracks are connected involves the director playing with timelines but its not done too well and ends up being confusing with some of the suspense being broken at the midpoint because of the need to signal the intermission on a temporary high.

5 responses so far

Mar 16 2017

Mupparimaanam

Published by under Review,Tamil Cinema

mupparimaanam

Mupparimaanam doesn’t inspire much confidence in the beginning. Kathir(Shanthanu) gets a typical mass hero introduction scene where he swats away a bunch of goons at a marriage hall and then kidnaps the bride Anusha(Shrushti Dange). The fight sequence is good even if completely one-sided but the subsequent chase is rather generic and doesn’t generate much by the way of excitement. It doesn’t help that it reminds us of the similar chase in Gilli(the Yaaro Ivano… number takes the place of Arjunar Villu…) here.

Its during the chase that we learn about the romance between Kathir and Anusha. It is again a very routine romance where their families have a previous enmity stemming from Kathir’s dad, a policeman, being responsible for putting Anusha’s brother in jail. Its the kind of romance that is not particularly interesting but doesn’t make us cringe either. Kathir and Anusha don’t get the chance to be overly cutesy since the romance itself is pretty short and doesn’t have many sparks. The scenes with Anusha’s parents don’t get overly dramatic and there are a couple of scenes(like a wedding, an opportunity to elope) where we aren’t sure exactly how the story will proceed.

But the film then surprises us. As some blanks get filled in, we see the full picture and the story it paints is very different from what we had been led to believe. There’s some cheating by the director but it works and the way some of the events actually unfolded makes us smile. Even the cliched nature of the romance makes more sense now since it tricked us with its predictability.

The film told the romance without any unnecessary comedy but it adds Thambi Ramiah into the mix after things get serious. He doesn’t do any serious damage since flashbacks take up most of the screen time but he still feels unnecessary. The flashbacks also allow the film to add a song sequence featuring cameos by many actors(Arya, Vijay Anthony, Radhika, Ramya Krishnan are a few of the more high-profile actors to make an appearance).

2 responses so far

Mar 14 2017

Motta Shiva Ketta Shiva

Published by under Review,Tamil Cinema

msks

The success of the last 2 Kanchana movies made Raghava Lawrence a star with box-office clout. While they were commercial successes, our heroes have always treated successful mass masala movies as the holy grail of stardom. Lawrence’s attempt at that stardom gives us Motta Shiva Ketta Shiva, a hardcore, B-grade mass masala movie. Lawrence is more acceptable as a mass hero than some other heroes but the vehicle he has chosen is pretty bad.

We actually see ketta Shiva first as ACP Shiva(Raghava Lawrence) takes charge after haggling a transfer from a minister he rescues from kidnappers. He is crooked and corrupt, making deals with criminals and taking bribes. Its usually fun to see our heroes play the bad guy for a change but Shiva here isn’t bad in an interesting way. He simply overlooks petty crimes and beats up small-time criminals. To make matters worse, he isn’t completely rotten either. So we have scenes like the one where he befriends a deaf-mute girl Nandhini and later saves her and her group from a goon.

Seeing Kovai Sarala, Sathish(who in recent movies seemed to be on the road to becoming the lead comedian but hardly has any screen time or lines here)  and Chaams as Shiva’s constables tells us that we are not supposed to take anything seriously but the comedy, revolving around them worshiping the ACP for his corrupt ways, is terrible(aside from making a mockery of the rules of the police). The same goes for Shiva’s romance with a journalist(Nikki Galrani). The usual idea of the hero making the girl jealous by cozying up to another woman is used as a ploy for the director to introduce an item number and Devadharshini adds to the annoying comedy as the journalist’s sister who adores cops.

Shiva’s corrupt behavior is not to just line his own pockets. He is actually out to irritate the Commissioner(Sathyaraj, in one of his most ineffectual roles) with whom he has a past. The reason behind this is a key twist but the revelation is handled in such a throwaway manner that we wonder why the director made an attempt to hide it. Another minor twist with respect to the victim of a crime is actually handled better and gives us a momentary surprise.

In keeping with the film’s trend, a single conversation is all it takes for Shiva to have a change of heart. So he turns into motta Shiva and goes up against GK(Ashutosh Rana) and his younger brother Sanjay(Vamsi Krishna). In keeping with the movie’s tone, they are both incredibly evil and incredibly stupid. GK’s plans to beat Shiva are silly and Shiva’s responses are sillier. A scene where some ladies imitate fight sequence moments from Tamil films(the Singam bit is the funniest) is the film’s sole clever moment. Lawrence thinks that shouting out a dialog automatically makes it a punch dialog and so keeps screaming threats and challenges until the movie finally draws to an end.

6 responses so far

Mar 09 2017

Kuttram 23

Published by under Review,Tamil Cinema

kuttram-23

Arivazhagan is a director who hasn’t hit the big league even after providing two good entertainers(Eeram, Vallinam) in two very different genres(horror, sports drama). Arun Vijay too has languished for years in the lower ranks of Tamil cinema without getting the all-important break that would enable him to climb up the rungs of stardom. The two have joined hands for Kuttram 23, a medical thriller. It turns out to be a mutually beneficial team-up since Arivazhagan gives us another solid entertainer in a different genre while Arun Vijay delivers a measured, restrained performance.

It is an exciting, suspenseful start to the movie when a priest is murdered in a church right after he gives confession to a woman who then goes missing. We soon learn that she was the wife of the head of a television channel and the case is assigned to Assistant Commissioner Vikram(Arun Vijay). From there the film moves briskly as he investigates the murder. Vikram gets too many easy breaks(a body is found soon, he gets a witness who saw the bad guys, etc.) but the suspense about the plot and some good action sequences(the best one though comes near the end when Vikram faces off against a bad guy inside a hotel room) keep the film moving consistently.

The film blends Vikram’s personal side into the story well. The first time his family is shown, we see his his sister-in-law(Abhinaya) enduring sharp barbs from Vikram’s mother about her inability to become a mom(this is brought up multiple times during the course of the film to seem like the film’s message). But we see later that this is not played out just for sentiments since she eventually plays an important part in the case. Similarly Thendral(Mahima Nambiar, who bears a resemblance to many actresses from an earlier era), is a witness becoming his love interest. With these aspects blended in, there are no awkward, pace-sapping detours for a romantic track or to showcase Vikram’s family.

But as with most other thrillers, this film is also unable to get away from the need to introduce some levity into the proceedings by casting Thambi Ramiah as a constable. While he doesn’t bring any big laughs, its still better than a separate comedy track and the director makes some amends by giving him one good scene where he manipulates the scene in an interrogation room after Vikram lets his emotions get the better of him.

The way the bad guy is brought in is awkward and the way Vikram makes the connection to identify him strains credulity. But to the director’s credit, he maintains the suspense about what exactly is happening for a really long time. Even after the link between the victims has been established, it is difficult to fully understand the villain’s motives and actions(the relevance of the 23 in the title is also revealed quite late in the proceedings). This is partially due to how weird those motives end up sounding when he finally spells them out but when it works in keeping us involved in the movie, the villain’s weird way of thinking is something that is easy to overlook.

7 responses so far

« Newer Entries - Older Entries »