Category Archives: Drama

Asuran Review

Asuran Review – Asuran is a Tamil crime thriller released in 2019. When powerful landlords in the village, try to overpower the poor farmers to take over the land, the family of Sivasami doesn’t budge and the following events turn into an endless revenge saga between families.

I always wish that Indian directors make movies on already written material than trying to create material on their own every time. Director Vetrimaaran has taken a step if followed by other fellow directors in this country could change the landscape of Indian Cinema in a positive way. Kudos to him for making a movie based on a novel Vekkai by Poomani. This makes the content very rich, characterization very deep-rooted and overall movie a very engaging one.

I haven’t read the novel so I may not be able to comment on how much true to the book the movie has been. My analysis is mostly on the structure of the movie. The structure of the screenplay is much akin to the structure of the cult classic commercial movie Baasha. Due to the rural treatment and the message in the movie, it also resembles Devar Magan in many ways. An innocent protagonist, who doesn’t raise voice against atrocities has a dark past in which he is akin to a menacing Villain, the secret breaks right at the interval block and then dwells into the past to establish the gory side of the protagonist, coming back to the present to close the proceedings. While many directors have tried to emulate the success of these movies have miserably failed, Vetrimaaran banked on the content which eventually created a successful product.

I was very intrigued by the fact of the choice of the name Asuran. In Hindu mythology, the Asuras were always looked down upon by the Devas and were constantly at war between each other. Devas also made peace with Asuras whenever they needed some work to be done with them like in the case of churning the ocean to create Amruth. In the movie too, the landlord keeps a good pact with Dhanush till he is preparing liquor that helps his business grow. It is only later he realizes where his real place is and things change. Even the scenes involving the insult of the upper cast before women, the insult he takes for her laughing and the way he avenges for it are all in correlation to the Deva and Asura wars. In that way, it is a befitting the title.

The characters are sketched well. Although Dhanush becomes of prime importance in the second half, other characters still have a convincing life cycle. It is nice to see Pasupathi and Prakash Raj on screen after a while. The choice of Manu Warrier to play Dhanush wife as well is a great choice. She has a lot more scope in the first half of the movie.

The locations in which the movie is shot adds a more convincing tone to the whole narration. In particular, the forest sequences are taken very well. The background score is the soul of the movie and GV Prakash has done a phenomenal job in scoring the BGM.

High Points – Strong content, Interval Block, background score, depth of characters, visuals of the forest sequence, action blocks, raw treatment

Low Points Too much violence might not appeal to everyone.

Overall Asuran is a very well made commercial crime thriller. It has all the ingredients that would keep you glued to the chair until the end and leave you with a powerful message. It is now available in Amazon Prime.

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Joker Review

Joker Review – Joker is an American psychological thriller released in 2019. The movie is based on the famous DC Villain Joker and traces his origin story.

After the rave reviews, the movie has been receiving, I had finally watched Joker on the IMAX screen. It is a movie that breaks the fourth wall of sorts where it requires the involvement of the audience to interpret and make sense of the proceedings. It leaves you with a lot of emotions about what you have witnessed. It sort of symbolizes the rise of a dystopian society that Gotham had become later as you would have watched in Batman movies.

The movies opening scene paints the picture of the city that it is becoming. Arthur is putting on his clown make up, metaphorically putting on a happy face when the city is gone to the rats as it is conveyed by the newsreaders in the news channel. Rise of rats indicates the rise in the homeless people in the city living in makeshift shelters leading to the rise of rodent menace. The government is trying to control the rodents rather than addressing the source of the problem. There is a joke that gets aired in the Murray Franklin show on TV calling the rodents as super rats and the solution is to fight them with super cats. A sarcastic take on the tryst between Super-Villains and Super-Heroes is brilliantly weaved into the story.

The economic divide in the city has become so huge that the quality of life of the jobless people is in a very pathetic state. Arthur is just a representative of them where he craves an identity by fantasizing himself to be a successful standup comedian. Post the dramatic turn of events ( not revealing them here to avoid spoilers ), the prospective candidate for the Mayor, Thomas Wayne calls them clowns by accidentally giving them an identity that unites them.

The rest of the movie is about how Arthur’s life takes a turn with the turn of the events and what he becomes eventually. The climax is very open-ended letting you reflect and create your own version of the story.

Joaquin Phoenix is literally in every frame of the film and has delivered a very commendable performance. The hysterical laugh convinces you of a man who has a condition of mental illness. Director Todd Philips has given a movie that is much beyond the movie made out of comic. Joker can be an independent movie that has a lot to convey without having the link to the comic.

High Points: Performance of Joaquin Phoenix, the open-ended climax that leaves room for interpretations, the soundtrack from Frank Sinatra classics, the gripping dark screenplay.

Low Points: The film is dark, gritty and bold which may not appeal to the taste of folks who do not like it.

Overall, Joker is here to stay as a cult movie for very long and is arguably one of the best performances of Joaquin Phoenix yet. Joker is not just an origin story of Super-Villain but a movie that paints the side effects of the inequalities in society.

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Parasite Review

Parasite Review Parasite is a South Korean black comedy movie released in 2019. The movie explores the significant divide in a society based on the socio-economic background through the two families at extreme ends of financial status.

Director Bong Joon-Ho has attained legendary status and like all his previous movies this one too left me with an awe for the number of layers this simple black comedy had and its reflection on the subject it deals with. Every frame has been thoughtfully constructed to create a visual representation of the core theme of the movie. As Kim’s son always say it is metaphorical.

  1. The long staircase Kim’s family takes down to reach their house when they return from the house of the Park family.
  2. A house that doesn’t let visitors walk inside the gate without permission to the sub-basement makeshift house where people pee outside the window without any remorse.
  3. A family thanking the rains for it has made the city greener to the family that had to spend a night at the gym among hundreds of people as their house got flooded with shit due to the rains.

As the movie begins at the poor man’s dwelling in a sub-basement, with the family discussing the wifi connection which they were connecting to now has a password, you tend to think the family living in the basements are parasites metaphorically. And as they all get placed in various jobs at Park’s house this feeling is more cemented. Here is the genius of Bong Joon Ho where he makes you feel a certain way and leaves you guilty for the thought process as the movie progresses and you are truly confused about who or what the real parasites are. The same treatment I had very much enjoyed in his movies Memories of Murder and Mother.

Song Kang-Ho yet again delivers a stellar performance. He can just transform into any role just like that. The treatment of the script through comedy just falls in his comfort zone and he delivers it with ease. All the characters in the movie are well written and their character arc as the movie progresses is beautifully constructed.

High Points: Brilliant screenplay and narration. The metaphorical construction of the scene that goes well with the theme of the movie. Performance of the actors.

Low Points: Hardly any low points for this movie

Overall Parasite is yet another legendary work by Bong Joon-Ho. It grows on you through powerful visual storytelling and some brilliant screenwriting. If you get a chance to watch this in any film festivals don’t miss it.

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Super Deluxe Review

Super Deluxe Review – Super Deluxe is a Tamil neo-noir film released in 2019. The story follows the lives of 3 different set of people dealing with different taboos in life and how each of their life influences the outcome of the other.

It is almost impossible to write a review of Super Deluxe without giving away the plot. So if you haven’t watched the movie, do watch it before you continue reading this review.

There are movies that you walk into the theater with a different expectation in mind and the movie is not even a bit of what you had expected it to be. But later as you sink it in you understand the depth of the plot, the construct, the dialogues and all of a sudden everything falls so perfectly in place that you would want to yell “Wow! What a brilliant movie”. The phrase from the song from Delhi Belly “I hate you like I love you” fits in so perfect for the movie.

If you walk in expecting an Aaranya Kaandam you would be largely disappointed. Rather if you let Super Deluxe be it what it is supposed to be then you would appreciate the nuances and the beauty of the neo-noir film. There are actually 4 different threads of the plot that is intelligently arranged in so that it becomes a compelling tale.

You might feel why are you watching it as you start watching it for it is going to make you uncomfortable by breaking all the rules. As you watch it till the end it leaves a great after taste that you can savor for long.

Through the 4 different tales, director Thiagarajan Kumararaja questions the very sense of right or wrong, good or evil. Just like how the day merges into the night and the night into the day, good merges with evil and the vice versa. Time can alter how things are perceived. He questions the existence of God in a statue, while he is making the curse of a Eunuch become true. A girl having an extramarital affair doesn’t mean that she is characterless. Porn stars are there to perform as the market for porn is out there. Who is to be blamed? He even teases the whole plot by getting in an Alien. As you just begin thinking what an absurdity, the alien questions your very thought process by telling, “Why do you think Aliens would just come to America?”. The climax though a bit preachy but a brilliant one as you see the gem of the advice coming in through the narrator in the porn movie who explains the meaning of life and everything. He teases the audience there too, by telling you might just end up thinking of this as a porn movie and miss the essence of it.

High Points: The performances of Vijay Sethupathi, Samantha, Fahad Fasil and the kid Ashwath. The plot and the questions around stereotype that is embedded in the plot. The quirky dialogues in the movie. The Climax, the Cinematography.

Low Points: The length of the movie and the complex plot would have been a let down for many. But if you love the movie you will feel it justified.

Overall, Super Deluxe is a movie that beats the logic of the predictable formula in movies. You might have seen such brilliant non-linear work with Tarantino, Frank Miller, and Guy Ritchie. Thiagarajan Kumararaja does it for a Tamil movie that is going to yet again become a cult hit like his first outing.

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Tel Aviv On Fire Review

Tel Aviv On Fire Review – Tel Aviv On Fire is an Arabic comedy-drama released in 2018. Salam is a Palestinian living in Jerusalem. He is working on a Soap opera as a scriptwriter. He gets his plot ideas from the commander at the check post he passes through. As the show becomes popular, the commander wants the climax to be changed the way he wants.

Director Sameh Zoabi has crafted a witty screenplay at the backdrop of a socially tense situation. The movie is hilarious right from the first shot. The scenes shift from the soap opera to the real life effortlessly. The brilliance in the screenplay makes you interested in progress of both the tales the real story as well as the story of the soap opera.

Kai’s Nashif is very convincing as Salam. His performance is witty and enjoyable. The inspiration he looks for writing the script is quite hilarious and later we see that it has a stronger connection to his life too. Yaniv Bitton steals the show as the commander at the check post. His asks are unexpected and helps in bringing some surprises in the plot.

High Points – The comedy in the script, the background score elevates the scenes, the interwoven plots of soap opera and the real life, ending of the movie is very entertaining

Low Points – Folks who do not like this kind of comedy may not enjoy the movie.

Overall, Tel Aviv On Fire is an entertaining drama, that has a very satirical take on the Soap Operas and also brings the funnier side of people although separated by political system to the forefront.

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