Category Archives: Crime

Vikram Vedha Review

Vikram Vedha Review – Vikram Vedha is a Tamil Neo Noir film directed by the duo Pushkar and Gayathri. The film released in 2017. The plot is akin to the folklore tales of Vikram and Vethal where Vikram was a righteous king who set out to the deep dungeons to capture Vethal. Vethal kept telling him tales where the lines of right vs wrong were blurred. In the end, the Vethal asked a riddle as to what is the right thing to do. Once Vikram answered it escaped. The movie starts with the animated version of this and the story has the same theme with a police officer and an encounter specialist Vikram after a deadly gangster Vedha.

Madhavan plays the role of the encounter specialist Vikram and  Vijay Sethupathi plays the role of Vedha. The plot is definitely a very interesting one that can keep you glued to the seats. Vijay Sethupathi has literally rocked the show in his role as Vedha. From a characterization perspective, this is written strongly as well and has a good character arc. Madhavan too has equally performed well in bringing out the demeanor of an encounter specialist.  The movie starts with what appears to be a casual outing for the police team and ends in a deadly encounter mission.  Very nicely done and it sets up the tone of the movie and establishes Madhavan’s character very well. Even before Vedha appears on the screen there are tales about him which establishes him as a deadly demon. And when he appears it stays up to the expectation. When he narrates the first story it is quite gripping and the twist of his escape from the situation is also well planted. The movie had been extraordinary till this point.

Post this there are more occasions he narrates the story to Vikram but quite unsure as to why Vikram listens to it patiently. He is shown to be a cop who doesn’t take even seconds to leave the bad people alive. Why does he have to listen to Vedha is still a question. When Vedha knows he would escape from the situation why does he have to tell a story to Vikram is also not established well. We did not know why Vethal told stories to Vikram as well isn’t it. That’s the only analogy I could draw for this.

Shraddha Srinath and Varalakshmi’s roles help in moving the story forward.

High Points: Vikram and Vethal as a plot device, Vijay Sethupathi and Madhavan’s performance, The initial story narrated by Vedha, The background score, and cinematography.

Low Points: The screenplay has many loop holes in the second half and it is hard to reason out why Vikram’s and Vedha’s behavior changes.

Overall Vikram Vedha is a Flamboyant and stylish encounter that would make you whistle at many moments. If you are able to ignore the loops holes in the screenplay you would enjoy this very much.

Worth a Watch

Maanagaram Review

Maanagaram Review – Maanagaram is a Tamil thriller released in 2017. The movie plot revolves around events that happen around Chennai on two nights where the incidents affect people who were strangers to each other till then.

Director Lokesh Kangaraj has created a well-knitted screenplay in his first full-length feature film Maanagaram. His short film Kalam in the anthology of shorts released under the name of Aviyal had been interested in how situations create difficulties and situations make it easy when unexpected. Maangaram follows the same pattern on a bigger scale. The lives of a Don, a police officer, a jobless youth stalking his love, HR manager, a new employee, a taxi driver, small-time kidnappers and school boy cross each other on a fateful night in Chennai. The knots get more complicated as the movie progresses and it makes the proceedings very gritty. The screenplay is engaging right from the word go.

The screenplay is engaging right from the word go. The eerie and uneasiness of a big city is created very well by the director in the first few scenes. When you start hating the city there is this dialogue “People would complain and speak wrong things about this city, but they would never leave it” He has created a very nice character to the city itself. Although it is dark it is very enjoyable. The performances of the lead characters help in moving the story ahead. There is also dark humor in the scenes where Ramdoss comes in. In particular, the episode of him walking into the school to kidnap a boy is hilarious.

High Points: A gripping screenplay, performances of the lead actors, dark humor. No songs which could have otherwise slowed down the pace.

Low Points: Due to the genre this may not appeal to folks who expect a linear tale with one protagonist.

Overall Maanagaram is an excellent first movie from Lokesh Kanagaraj. If you love dark action thrillers, don’t miss this one.

Worth a Watch

Very Big Shot Review

Very Big Shot Review – Very Big Shot is a Lebanese comedy film released in 2015. Three brothers who are into drug dealing business take up one last job before they set out to go clean and straight to open a restaurant business.

I had watched this movie in the Bangalore International Film Festival 2016. How I wished Tamil movie Jigarthanda’s second half was something like this. Anyways that is my personal views which many may differ to agree. Without getting into that argument let me talk about Very Big Shot. The movie is a gangster drug lord flick at the outset. However, there is a very sensible humor throughout the script right from the first shot. Once the gangsters figure out that film roles are spared from being screened at the airport, they decide to become a producer of a film. The movie gets very interesting from there on and it is a ride filled with loads of laughter.

The screenplay has been done very nicely to ensure there is a logical flow to the whole story. The characters have been created and established the way they fit into the situations well. There is no point it looks force fitted. Usually, comedy movies suffer from the phenomenon of force fitting humor into the script.

High Points: The scene where Ziad (eldest of the brothers) decide to make a movie to smuggle the drugs, the filmmaking scene where the Bhurka clad lady is stopped and the onlookers jump in to create a commotion without realising it is a shooting.

Low Points: As the humor is built around the movie making process, this humor may not work for all.

Overall, Very Big Shot is a wholesome entertainer that would make you laugh and keep you engaged throughout the movie. If you get a chance to watch this one do give it a try.

Must Watch

Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada Review

Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada Review – Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada is a romantic thriller released in 2016. Leela goes on a road trip on a bike with her friend’s brother. What begins to be a feel good romantic journey turns ugly when they meet with an accident.

The movie starts with a statement that it has been inspired by the scene in The Godfather. This scene should be where injured Michael plots revenge against the corrupt policeman. If you are expecting a VTV kind of a movie you would be in for a surprise as it is not a romantic drama. Only the first half of the movie is dedicated to romance and you would see all the songs appear in the first half of the movie itself. Then the second half is the inspiration part.

This is GVM’s way of movie making and story telling. You may like this or hate it but beyond everything you see a genuine sincerity in making what he believes in. There is a very casual approach in the first half as the scenes and the dialogues flow like they have been taken using a candid camera. There is also an element of surprise about the name of the lead protagonist. This is kept under wraps till the final sequence in the movie. He is passionate about riding his bullet and the initial scenes and dialogues would connect well with the biker community. Manjima Mohan is an eye candy who follows the tradition of a GVM’s heroine.

The second half of the movie is gritty and keeps you at the edge of the seat. A genre that I believe that GVM excels in. He can create a gruesome villain out of anyone. Baba Sehgal in this case.  The placement and creation of Thalli Pogathey song are beautiful and would be one of the high points in the movie. This kind of reminded me of a different opening by Myskkin in Pisasu. The hospital scene, the chase, and episode at the doctor’s house are the most engaging part of the movie. What happens to be a breezy ride on the tracks becomes a roller coaster ride. However, the big minus for the movie is the climax. When the suspense is unveiling, the story of movies Gangs of Wasseypur or RGV’s political crime drama is narrated with new characters so all the suspense built so far becomes for nothing. The non-linear editing with flashes of scenes, in the beginning, is the only knot that ties this. Still, this is not very effective. I only wished there was a foreshadowing done a bit earlier.

High Points: Thalli Pogathey song, Cinematography of the travel and the fight sequences, the hospital and final chase sequences. Picturization of the songs.

Low Points: The climax is the low point in the movie as the audience were not prepared for it.

Overall AYM is a movie which offers you many things you might like than hate. If you are able to withstand the disappointment in the climax you would be able to appreciate all other good things it offers.

For the sincere attempt and for Thalli Pogathey this one is

Worth a Watch

PS: A note to GVM and other Tamil directors, when you portray IPS officers please don’t let them sport a beard. Understand, undercover cops are allowed to have a beard, but when they take up normal duty and wear the uniform they are not allowed to have a beard.

Kabali Review

Kabali Review – Kabali is a Tamil gangster drama released in 2016. Kabali a gangster leading the Tamil group in Malaysia is released from prison after 25 years due to a crime scene where he lost his pregnant wife. As he sets to seek revenge on his enemies he learns his wife might be still alive.

Probably this Rajnikanth movie had a much greater hype than any of his previous movies. I decided not to watch it on the first day for multiple reasons, one with so much of overhype I wasn’t sure if I could write a balanced review. The other reason was Ranjith and Rajini had mentioned this would not be a usual Rajini movie and the most recent posters depicting Rajini in an emotional avatar I did not want to miss out the intensity lost when I watch it as an ardent fan of Thalaivar.

As expected the movie is definitely apart from standard Rajini movies. Still they couldn’t do away with some of the scenes that happen to be typical template of a Rajini starrer. The first 20 minutes of the movie gives what the audience need at the same time helps in moving the plot forward. Rajini’s costume, the style of his walk, the swag has come out very well and there is plenty to cheer about. As the movie progresses the plot gets grim and eventually turns into an emotional drama till getting back to the Gangster life. I enjoyed the gangster part of the flick for many reasons. I felt there was a deep influence of Scarface and it could become a cult classic. I did not like the emotional journey of Kabali and felt it was added just as a filler and did not move the story forward infact the emotional journey made his purpose of revenge more weaker. If you have watched the movie you would understand.

Kudos to Ranjith and team for pulling out a movie which had more chance for Rajini as an actor.  Radhika Apte, Dhansika, Dinesh, Kishore have supported well.

High Points: Rajini’s acting, his Swag, intense drama in the screenplay, Background Score, Flashback portions, Malaysian culture has been depicted well.

Low Points: The emotional Journey of Kabali did not help the plot much, Songs could have been better.

Overall Kabali is charismatic to hold you to your seats and keep you intense till the end. The minor plot holes could be easily forgotten when seeing the entire package. Ghost of Baasha would always haunt Rajini and his directors and we can’t do much about it. Only way to break this is to create movies like Kabali and Endhiran to bring out the actor in Rajinikanth. Go and watch in the theaters.

Worth a Watch

Thoongaa Vanam Review

Thoongaa Vanam Review – Thoongaa Vanam is a Tamil action crime thriller released in 2015. This is an official remake of French movie Nuit Blanche. CK Diwakar an officer in Narcotics Control Bureau along with his colleague steal drugs from a smuggling gang to make some quick money. The boss of the smuggling gang kidnaps Diwakar’s son and demands him to return the stolen drug.

Kamal Hassan demands a greater deal of maturity from the viewers for he had taken a script and stuck to the core theme of the script. He hasn’t taken any time to explain what NCB is. Hasn’t wasted time in introduction scene, songs and comedy track. The movie gets on track right from the first frame which opens on a hazy windshield with the evergreen Chandrababu song “சிரிப்பு வருது சிரிப்பு வருது…” playing in the radio. Even the character background of Kamal is revealed only later in dialogues during his first interaction with Prakash Raj. Kudos to Kamal, Director Rajesh M Selva and team for taking a script and staying in the perimeter of its true essence.

The next biggest strength of the movie is its cast. Prakash Raj, Trisha, Sampath Raj, Yugi Sedhu and Kishore all of them fit their roles very well. Kamal has performed his role at ease. The chemistry between him and his son reminds us of Uttama Villain. The trademark Kamal’s humor sprinkled in the dialogues in many places of the movie.

High Points: A different attempt in Tamil Cinema breaking some of the commercial formula, casting, action sequences.

Low Points: The original script itself has been witnessed in many crime thrillers and it lacks pace in the first half.

Overall Thoongavanam is a much-needed break for Tamil Cinema. It doesn’t aspire to be a milestone in Indian Cinema but a sincere attempt to give a good cinema to the audience.

Worth a Watch

 

Seven Days Review

Seven Days Review – Seven Days is a South Korean crime thriller movie released in 2007. Yoo Ji-yeon is a successful lawyer. Her daughter is kidnapped and she has to win a case to release a convict with death sentence for a murder to save her daughter.

The movie is very slick and engaging throughout. The suspense of the plot is maintained throughout and keeps you guessing on what is going to happen next. Yunjin Kim has performed her role very well. She comes across very convincingly for a lawyer and a mother trying to save her daughter. The scene in which she is interacting with the criminal with utmost confidence and the scene in which she breaks down for her daughter there is a sharp contrast and powerful.

The script keeps building up well and knots tighten as they try to break it. In the end everything falls in place. The movie has a strong take on the moral values and the conflict between moral values versus the selfish benefit for one’s own family.

High Points: The script is very thrilling and engaging throughout, Yunjin Kim’s performance, suspense maintained throughout the movie.

Low Points: Not many for this movie.

This movie is remade in Bollywood as Jazbaa featuring Aishwarya Rai and Irrfan Khan. From the trailer it seems to be neatly done, maintaining some of the core essence of the movie. It definitely promises to be a good movie and has a very promising cast for the roles that had been in the original.

Overall Seven Days is a treat for crime thriller fans and it does go beyond dealing with emotional dilemma of ethics. If you love crime thrillers, this one is a must watch for you. This one has some explicit violence scenes and viewers discretion is required.

Must Watch