Tag: action thriller

Kaithi (2019)

Lokesh Kanakaraj is in a hurry.

In 15 mins, I get to know there is a child waiting for an unknown guest somewhere, a group of students are detained at the police commissioner’s office for drunken behavior, a bloody operation results in 900kg of cocaine being seized, a high ranking official sets up what seems like his farewell party and a gang leader puts out a hit job task to his henchmen. 

All this before the credits.

But with characters and dialogue, not with narration and flash forwards. So when a police constable says that the current colonial building is being vacated for a new headquarters, it means a lot and at different points in time. 

You would notice that all of these events correspond to groups. Kaithi to my memory has the most number of memorable characters in recent times, which is not easy to do, most movies use a good one third of their time in set-up and hardly achieve memorable status apart from the leads. 

Lokesh does this is in a “look, I don’t have time, but this is what you have to know, come along and you will figure it out” kind of way. 

The seized cocaine is what gets things rolling(literally the truck), but this is not a story about how different groups are in the race to get back what they lost; in fact every set here wants something else- the IG wants a respectable retirement, certain henchmen just want money, a brother is in need of another, Kamatchi just wants his truck in one piece and Dilli (Karthi is brilliant) just wants to see his daughter (or does he?) and so on. 

Which is why Kaithi is such a constrained title, it brings back focus to one of the characters, but that is when the movie begins to adopt a one-man-against-the-world-hollywood-actioner aesthetic, and most of it works when set within context, although I fear that some of it, like the bullet ridden climax, is set well outside. 

But not all out of context things are bad, especially when Jumbalaka Jumbalaka and Metro Channel  starts playing to drown out voices in a lock-up. Fantastic!

Kaithi is blockbuster material when it stays on the road and wants to go from point A to B, I would have never imagined our rural roads, forests, quarries and  hills to lend themselves to this type of actioner, but I realize things are what they are, only because of the ways we see it in. Lokesh saw it differently

Kaithi is now streaming on Hotstar.

FRS: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

jackreacher2

Well by now, you what this FRS is all about. It is basically a movie rating system which has striven to be unscientific and hence is fun, we hope.

-30: Tom Cruise never seems to age, he is doing something.

-10: Thus critics can never accuse him of ‘not playing his age’ because he  is not ageing only

-5: Critics

Anyways

+26: Makers actually came up with a title, instead of calling it Jack Reacher 2

-15.7: But title seems to be telling audience that this film does not need a rewatch, seriously yeah we know it is from the book title and all, but then you didnt called the first movie One Shot (which was the book it was based on, why start now? )

+1 : No Narration, yes it helps

+42: To Lee Child, for actually creating a character who doesn’t use a smart phone and hence is actually smart, it’s not like you walk up to Reacher and ask “Hey Reacher, where is the closest laundry place from here”,  and Reacher wont be like “hey, wait let me google that for you”. Geez, he will actually tell you where the closest laundry is, wherever in the world. He also will beat up anyone. Cool no? Take that Marvel/DC.

Whenever Reacher uses a cellphone it is a feature phone and not a smart phone and he seems to have a peaceful life, I mean apart from being chased by the military police.

-10: to the reader who would have mind voice “hey buddy, this was same in first movie as well, so why giving extra points now”; we didn’t review the first one that’s why

+4: Reacher takes public transport, good for health

-30: Hero who doesn’t want to be seen, or does not want any company will do casual flirting with one army major, also note, no whatsapp

+3: that’s what anyone would do if the major is being played by Cobie Smulders, but then Reaccher doesn’t know that because he doesn’t use skype or anything, I’m confused either to give or take points.

Live and let live.

-90: This is actually the plainest of all action films, even the action isn’t pulsating like Cruise’s MI films which we can just watch for the jumps, this looks like a Kathadi Ramamurthy family drama compared to that. Nothing cinematic, see first five mins of part one and you will fall in love with Chris Macquarrie.

-10: Tom Cruise escaping from prison cliche

-8: CCTV camera will capture everything except hero escaping from prison. Dei!!

-34: Tom Cruise running away from bad guys

-6: High school girl outruns two army majors, ok one ex-major, shows US army training, Indians will be happy.

-23: Whatever happens to hero, however he gets hit, in the end he will have only one cut on the face, and that too strategically placed so as to enhance his handsomeness

-109: Main characters will always discuss important plot details while undressing, because….

+10: Even in USA, low cost airlines will not even give water until you ask for it

+10: Even in USA, aadar card xerox and original self will be absolutely different

-670: One more time we use, Even in the USA you can burn down our blog, dei learn new phrases (to self)

-34: For a movie that has military espionage as its core, has very little excitement, ending feels like “ok…hmm”

+39: Female characters out shine male character (here Cruise), most of the plot progresses because of them, Cruise looks up to them but then also accepting that he is not used to being worked with

+7: The Girl, really very very good. funny .

-6: Typical senior officer shouting dialogues like “I wanna know what he eats, where he eats, where he sleeps and i need all these details by yesterday”. Dei dei how many days, also why being unreasonable, give them 48 hrs, this movie is not so much into world saving. It is an intimate thriller.

-20: henchmen dont realise what Reacher can do, which means they haven’t seen the first film. and he hits them very bad.

-83.9: Always during Black Ops operation or any other operation, team leader will say “Go!Go! Go!”, dei

-45.1: A good part of the movie is set in New Orleans which means surely they will show that parade and have a chase in it, esp in this it seems like low budget.

I know these fellows want to be subtle about acting and all, which comes down to much of jaw clenching again and again to express what shouldn’t be, Cruise does this well; but I can see that Sivaji would have had a tough time in Hollywood, especially in scenes where he is supposed to embrace his daughter or is she? Sivaji Ganeshan would have teared down the streets of Washington crying. Cruise just walks down cooly.

-6: Americans don’t give lift to Tom Cruise. Which is sad.

As always all numbers are totally arbitrary and absolutely irrelevant.

Nandri. Vanakkam.

FRS  Desk,

The Lowly Laureate.

INDIAN MADE FOREIGN FLICK

                                               Vishwaroopam

It is quite difficult for me to give exact reactions of Kamal Haasan’s Vishwaroopam, not that there is a dearth of reaction but it is quite important to note that there is lot to be said and only one post to say it.

Let’s begin with Kamal himself, Vishwaroopam is his third official tamil film as director, close to seven years after the agitated rural drama Virumandi. The first, as our smart readers would remember as the decades spanning truly Indian epic “Hay Ram”, even smarter readers would recognize that the first film Kamal was officially credited as director was Chachi 420. Even more smarter readers would….nevermind.

The only thing that unites them is the different approach to telling a story.

Writer Kamal catches us off-guard, when we are just about to sink into what could have been a regular flashback and director Kamal literally stops time at infrequent intervals as if to add parts to a growing jigsaw puzzle that is never shown in its full light through the entire film!

I have always wrestled with the concept of the flashback, usually in films it is just at one go; but in reality do we reminisce an event in its entirety?

Kamal adopts these memory slash cuts from different perspectives, but thus faced with an unavoidable problem of knotting of it all together. Kamal feels almost motherly in his conviction in showing things from the other-side, constantly reversing roles on who is the hero and who is the villain. Yes, that is also summarised nicely as dialogue.

Terror is a theme Kamal regularly comes back to. There is a lot about terrorism in even in the films which are not thematically about terrorism: be it the bunching of ahimsa and violence quote in his previous Manmadan Ambu, even Dasavatharam has its share of terror group name droppings and Anbe Sivam begins with a ‘bloody’ confusion; perhaps the concept of living together with differences and that even a slight remark could cause an imbalance worries him.

But should Vishwaroopam be stripped out off all this theme-talk and treated as a tick tock race against time-save the world thriller, if so how does it fare?

Sometime in the film, in a warehouse: a sound informs us that there is a leak somewhere, a drop of water. Cuts to a drop of water falling into placid water creating ripples indicating how one trigger could bring out unforeseen transformations and similarly so in the film.

There is so much to see in Vishwaroopam, and Kamal guides it in a way that creates a feeling there is always more to come. Kamal getting behind the camera, is the best decision in years.

Also intact is his unabashed love for Hollywood films (opening dialogue is something straight out of The Godfather) and Vishwaroopam is only a resource strained (but optimized?) attempt at saying ‘I’ll do anything that you do’.

That previous statement drops right in the middle of a homegrown cinema vs feigned cinema debate; but I bravely choose to walk away from it.

Because in Vishwaroopam you are only assessing how good a reprint is, not questioning its existence. And personally, I am okay with ‘Hollywood-like’ thrillers.

I would also like to add that Vishwaroopam was the most fulfilling and entertaining Tamil film I had seen in years in the theatre, it satisfies the primeval want, “if only someone here makes a film like that*”.

Basic rule in film entertainment is stated as thus, “No film which has a villain who stores one eyeball in a plastic transparent dubba in gooey liquid has ever failed in any corner of the world”

Over to part II