• Sanju is a film with missing pieces, which the makers try to fill by taking you back to the Bollywood of the 70s and 80s. The old songs playing in tandem with emotional scenes are the height of the Hirani effect, despite the film having A R Rahman’s oldie songs, and a remarkable pumping number “Kar Har Maidaan Fateh” sung with otherworldly energy by Sukhwinder Singh. A tearjerking second half further makes you forget about the pieces as well as the poor product placements of at least two brands. There is a lot going on between the lines. Unfortunately, they are not the parts that are missing from this ambitious biopic that reeks of conflict of interest. Nonetheless, it still is a well-crafted film that has a very high entertainment quotient as a standalone story about “a father and son”. Just don’t believe everything you see. TN.

    July 01, 18
  • When you have such a great cast giving their 100%, you are bound to end up creating a lovely film. Anand Tiwari’s Love Per Square Foot is such a film that is so tasty and relatable, it has all the ingredients to entice and entertain you. Vicky Kaushal, in his career best performance, and debutante Angira Dhar play two young people looking to buy their own flat in Mumbai. So when an offer that would help them do that without much financial burden comes their way, they brush as acquaintances and then to lovers. Lover Per Square Foot is about their romance and struggle to buy a property in the satellite city, their attempt to maintain romance despite being an inter-regional couple, their ups and downs in life as independent participants in a relationship. And it works wonders. I am massively surprised to learn that Tiwari has impressive direction skills, which enables him to bring out the best in his lead stars and supporting actors like Ratna Pathak Shah, Surpriya Pathak Kapur, and Raghubir Yadav just to name a few. Apart from the brilliant performances, there are a lot of small things that you will enjoy watching in the film that has been written in a politically correct manner whose only aim is to entertain. Although the plot sways to cliched territory towards the end, there is freshness in Tiwari’s execution. It’s a palpable love story that aims at highlighting the pains and fun of middle-class lifestyle, which comes to the fore through the fantabulous dialogues written by Sumeet Vyas. Everyone involved in making Love Per Square Foot should get together and rejoice for they have made a film that is funny, relevant, and important. It impressed me and made me laugh a lot. TN.

    June 24, 18
  • There are a lot of kinks in this contrived drama of a vengeful family which only succeeds in creating loud noise. Even the ensemble cast cannot do justice to the story that has no logic or structure, and which also had shades of lowbrow action thrillers we have seen coming out from the West. I have never been so sure at not recommending a film before as I have with Race 3, not because it was a terrible experience, but because there’s the horror of a Race 4 in the horizon. And sustaining that would take a lot of courage and determination. Race 3 is a bad “circus show” with the only difference emerging because of the fact that training animals is a crime.

    June 16, 18
  • Claes Bang is charming in this satirical commentary on the state of freedom of expression and politics in the Swedish art museum scene which depends on shoots of massively appealing sequences but falls flat when you see them as a whole. Director Ruben Ostlund uses the narrative story of a man (Bang) in the upper strata of society who has to brave the world as he doesn’t know it. Starting from the loss of his wallet and phone to the uphill task of managing the museum of which he is a director, he fails to use his intelligence or charm and ends up facing the wrath of the merciless collective world. I am not sure what more Ostlund tries to say here but his primary theme of how far freedom of speech can go and who is supposed to cap it is loud and clear throughout The Square. Elizabeth Moss also stars in this sleek little abstract film that has some great music (Justice, for instance) and enjoyable shots of people enjoying themselves. Special nod to whoever designed the sets and the costumes of the characters because now I want to dress like Bang. The sex scene between two characters is one of the most natural thing I have seen all year in film, which is why I should stress that The Square has some extraordinary sequences for you to enjoy, but as a whole it still is an overlong mess. TN.

    June 12, 18
  • The ambiguity in Shoojit Sircar’s October is its biggest enemy as you spend two hours waiting to find the message being conveyed and then get disappointed. Varun Dhawan is the star of this tragic drama where he plays a dim-witted but innocent young man working as a hospitality intern at a 5-star hotel. It is when one of his co-workers, played by newcomer Banita Sandhu, slips from the terrace of the hotel and finds herself in a coma that the film starts talking to you. I like how director Sircar and writer Juhi Chaturvedi take a slow-paced approach at storytelling, not revealing much about the characters while at it. In that regard, the film is an unfolding of Dhawan’s character, which I should mention reveals Dhawan’s acting skills to some extent. I don’t know how he signed up for this, but in lines similar to Sriram Raghavan’s Badlapur (2015), he puts up a mature and demanding show, stealing the limelight all the way. October, therefore, is a film solely made to showcase his talent as an actor and tell a bland story from the side skirts. Sandhu is bedridden for most part so there’s nothing to see there, but the supporting cast do a decent job. I also appreciate the nostalgic tone of the entire movie, which sets up the mood for the drama that unfolds. October also tries to showcase how words can mean a lot even when they are uttered in regular dialogue, and for that, it gets 4 stars from me. I still cannot forgive it for almost putting me to sleep. TN.

    June 11, 18
  • I’m unable to adjudge whether it is the outstanding performance of the cast or the brilliant narration of the love story that pushes The Shape of Water to the level of a classic. But I’m certainly able to call it one not because of its critical reception but because of what it aims to highlight and succeeds. Guillermo del Toro’s protagonist is a mute, young woman named Elisa (Sally Hawkins) who plans to save a mystical human-like amphibian from the clutches of a government-run scientific research institute where she works, and which is managed by a sadist and unscrupulous ex-Army (Michael Shannon). It is her love and sympathy for the creature that motivates to do what she does, but Toro projects it as a connection between two creatures with their own flaws and shortcomings. The Shape of Water is purely a love story and nothing else, narrated in the classic 80s style which only uplifts its appeal. Hawkins is Godlike, but I’m without words at the impeccable performance of Richard Jenkins, Shannon, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Octavia Spencer who play more than life. They are so intricate and IN the character that more than the otherwise bland love story I was impressed by their natural skills. Together with Alexandre Desplat’s melodious background score and a fitting production setup that puts James Cameron’s Avatar (2009) into shame, the film goes above and beyond as to what it sets to achieve. Which is why I will recommend it to anyone who’s familiar with Toro’s filmography and those who simply appreciate good cinema. The Shape of Water is good cinema and we must appreciate it. TN.

    June 11, 18
  • Manoj Bajpayee is absolutely brilliant as an opportunistic and philandering womanizer in Mukul Abhyankar’s ambitious psychological drama Missing that is largely led by Tabu. Hers is the main character here, who steals focus from her audience as this worried mother of a young girl named Titli, who goes missing later in the film. Missing narrates the story of these three characters as Annu Kapoor, playing an Indian cop in Mauritious, heads the investigation of the missing child. Abhyankar’s writing is tight and you are going to be hooked since the first frame itself. Apart from the gradual unfolding of events, and thereby the truth, there’s an air of suspense throughout the 120-minute running time as you try to predict what will happen with the characters. Sometimes funny but always thrilling, Missing works because of writer-director Abhyankar’s solid direction and execution. Bajpayee shines better than Tabu, although it is the joint effort by the entire cast that makes this more worthwhile. I am also impressed by the score by M M Kreem, which compensates the issues I have with the plot and the several holes in it. Even if you regard these issues as problematic, the unexpected climax and the consequences of all the proceedings makes Missing an above average thriller. They hardly make such films in Bollywood, so it is important for us to take note and appreciate when they do. Catch it when you can. TN.

    June 10, 18
  • In a modern world full of chaos, Shashanka Ghosh’s four protagonists try to find harmony in their relationships, both familial and external. Highlighting their journey through deft realism and contrived drama is what she manages in her comedy drama Veere Di Wedding, after being on a four-year hiatus to mourn the failure of the 2014 debacle Khoobsurat. In a hackneyed story that has been sampled in countless art forms before, Kareena Kapoor plays Kalindi, a young, chic woman who is about to get married to her boyfriend (Sumeet Vyas) of 2-3 years JUST because he proposed to her with a diamond ring. Introspecting her decision through the days before her nuptials along with her equally chic three friends who are confused but more (sexually) frustrated than her, Kalindi fights her familial issues and inner doubts that are mostly triggered by the blanket controlling of her beau’s family in everything that she does, including the wardrobe. Director Ghosh should be lauded for crafting an indomitable chick-flick in Bollywood despite the trite nature of the story and the unnecessary hyperbole. For instance, the controversial masturbation scene involving Bhaskar’s character is the most unoriginal thing in the film, which makes me doubt both Ghosh’s and the writers’ (Nidhi Mehra and Mehul Suri) intentions behind making this. There are many more scenes that come across as exaggerated, which although are hilarious, could have been soaked with realism to make the film not look like an exercise in man-hating and namesake destruction of the patriarchy. (Wonder what’s the deal here, after the recent Lipstick Under My Burkha (2017) by Alankrita Shrivastava that also depended on exaggeration and far-right feminism!?) Nonetheless, there are a lot of great things to appreciate here: from Kalindi’s gay uncles to the incredible performances of Bhaskar, Sonam Kapoor, and Shikha Talsania to the portrayal of men (Vyas’s and Vishwas Kini’s (fantastic performance) characters) to the free dialogues that bring out the best in the film. It’s a well-made film even if we disregard the conspicuous and therefore poor placement of ads in the film for HSBS, Uber, and Gulmohar Lane. Plus, if you notice, all the books (in the bookshelves) in the film look irritatingly unnatural. I’m a 100% sure that these books were borrowed in bulk from a nearby sale (those 300 rupees per KG book sale shops that have cropped up these days) and stashed in the shelves because never have I seen the books of Bill Bryson, Wilbur Smith, and Danielle Steel in a single room; it just cannot and should not happen. What an amateur work by whoever designed the production set. Enough with the digression; Veere Di Wedding is overall a good effort for a comedy chick-flick and surely paves the road for more such films. Regarding it as crass just because you don’t get the point that Ghosh tries to make makes you a hypocrite. TN.

    June 10, 18
  • Pari is a film that depends only on jumpscare sequences. There’s a mysterious woman (Anushka Sharma) who is given refuge from her shackled and miserable life by Arnab (Parambrata Chatterjee), a young man about to get married. As Arnab tries to save and bring her back to life, he realizes that the woman might not be a human – with powers that could put our homegrown superhero Krrish to shame and other contemporary ghost spirits at her feet for mentoring. Sometimes unintentionally funny and always dull, director Prosit Roy’s Pari is a collection of bits and pieces about black magic and voodoo experiments gone wrong. A snail-paced screenplay with only the aforementioned two characters at full display, it feels like Roy had a lot of things to say. Child sacrifice is only one among them, which not only makes Pari interesting but also socially relevant. Mismatches in the storyline, gaping plotholes about the characters, and absolutely no background about them further makes Pari a difficult and confusing watch. One would even go and buy popcorn and stay there because the screenplay moves like it has all day. Sharma is decent, but more than her it’s Bollywood newbie Ritabhari Chakraborty who does a better job at impressing us. Chatterjee, on the other hand, looks like he’s hungover, and delivers a cardboard performance. Rajat Kapoor is at his best, as always, but unfortunately none of these cast performances elevate the appeal of the film as a horror thriller. The backstory is not convincing and the present proceedings hardly entice you. Pari, therefore, is a messed-up story that does not know what to highlight and what to convey. TN.

    More at http://www.nairtejas.com

    May 05, 18
  • Bhaagamathie is a perfect example of a film that starts in one vein and ends in another. Borrowing elements from films like Manichitrathazhu (1993) and The Usual Suspects (1995), it narrates the story of a murder convict and former IAS officer Chanchala (Anushka Shetty) who is locked inside a haunted mansion by the CBI so that they can question her about a minister (Jayaram) who they think is corrupt. With shades of the horror genre evident in the cinematography (jump scares) and the background music, the film situates itself on a plot that is crooked at best. Why would CBI choose such a location even when they don’t want publicity? The contrived nature of the plot plays against the purpose of the film as the discerning viewer is already fed up with convenient storytelling. However, if you ignore this nature, Bhaagamathie can turn into a passable affair as pretty-faced Shetty leads the show with her subtle performance, supported heavily by the electrifying Jayaram. The first half manages to create a setup that you will expect more from in the second half, but unfortunately, it dilly dallies around for long before expediting the wrapping process. At the end, there are just one too many twists and turns for one to follow, giving you a feeling that Bhaagamathie is more of a cheap thriller than a horror film. If you have nothing better do and love either of the actors I mentioned, then this is a watchable film. Otherwise, skipping wouldn’t hurt. TN.

    More at http://www.nairtejas.com/

    April 21, 18
  • For a silent film, Mercury’s soundtrack has enough going on. Unfortunately, that is the only thing going on here as you end up being sermoned by director-writer Karthik Subbaraj about the hazards of mercury poisoning in what feels like a contrived thriller at best. Five youngsters – all both deaf and dumb – are out partying at a farmhouse. It is the adolescent nature in them that drives them to go on a quick outing in the middle of the night. What starts like a merry trip with two of them even introducing their love for each other comes to a screeching halt when they find a dead body (Prabhu Deva). Because none of them can hear, the further proceedings in the film become a bit challenging to follow. With Subbaraj throwing flashbacks at you, there’s a constant sense of apprehension in the narrative, which even the smartest viewer will find slightly annoying. The use of ambient score earns brownie points here, but this is no Pushpak Vimana (1987) or Raja Harishchandra (1913) which Mercury boasts of being inspired from. This thriller has been meticulously plotted so as to turn it into a silent film, which is how dictionaries around the world define the term “gimmick”, even in cinema parlance. Even as a well-shot thriller, it does suffer from huge plotholes and conceptual issues because at one point you have Deva acting like a victim of mercury poisoning (the main theme) and at other he has shades of paranormal activity. The hybrid may be true but writer Subbaraj hardly hints at their combination, instead always focusing on how the camera captures the actors’ emotive faces or forcing the audience stoop at their seats awaiting a jump-scare. Mercury starts off well but quickly goes downhill to become a boring stash of a soundtrack-driven drivel. With unintentional humor scattered all over the place and amateur performances by the lead actors, there is only so much to appreciate in this thriller. Which is not enough to justify a ticket price especially when there are better films out there. TN.

    More at http://www.nairtejas.com/

    April 13, 18
  • Director Abhinay Deo can safely call himself the king of black comedies as Blackmail by all means surpasses his previous best, Delhi Belly (2011). Irrfan, the king of the neighbouring kingdom – subtle acting – plays Dev, a cuckold to his wife (Kirti Kulhari) and leads the show. How an ordinary office-going man with shades of grey turns into a hostile creature with inflated vile human characteristics is what is the basic setting, and why Blackmail works compared to its past contemporaries is because Dev is not the only monster here. Every single character in the film is a vile creature with sinister intentions. From Dev’s wife to his colleagues to the adulterer (Arunoday Singh) – everyone is a culprit in this drama that is written with full conviction and imagination. Writer Parveez Sheikh, known for Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015) and Queen (2013), weaves a story that is so well-connected and polished, it is both delightful and funny to see the events unfold. Irrfan is at his usual best who acts like he his living the character; Singh, Divya Dutta, and Omi Vaidya are other members of the cast who support Deo in creating a near modern masterpiece in storytelling. With narrative frequently taking potshots at the human nature and also sampling current affairs and trends, there is never a dull moment that will bore a discerning viewer. There is enough going on in this drama that you will want to pay close attention as there is brilliance even in the niceties. Supported by a hard-pumping soundtrack, an unnecessary Urmila Matondkar cameo, and one of the best screenplays I have seen for a Bollywood film in 2018 so far, Blackmail is like that student who gets 80+ on all the subjects. How a noxious affair leads to another nasty thought to several more beastly events is what Blackmail situates itself in, and at the end reveals the hard truth about life that it is not people who actually do the crime that always suffer for it. It’s a sincere and quirky take on life and gets full points for the efforts. The ambiguous climax makes it much more of a new wave, unmissable film. Go watch it! TN.

    More at http://www.nairtejas.com/

    April 08, 18
  • 3 Storeys looks like an anthology film, and almost is, with the exception that the stories are indirectly tied together. A narrator takes you through the lives of inhabitants of a 3-storied chawl in Mumbai. These characters are from different walks of life and what makes them interesting are concepts of revenge and fate. Renuka Shahane plays an old Goan lady currently looking to rent her chawl flat for which she has quoted a price 4 times than its market rate; Masumeh Makhija’s character is a victim of domestic abuse by her alcoholic husband and is startled to find her past coming back to her; and Aisha Ahmed is a naive, young woman in love with her neighbour, unbeknownst to the fact which her mother has been hiding from her for long. More than the stories themselves, what elevates the appeal of 3 Storeys is the moral of each story. I’m pretty sure that you are going to turn your head when you find out what Shahane’s character is up to, as you would when you indulge in other characters and their realistic stories. The entire cast do a decent job in following director Arjun Mukerjee’s cues as he takes them on a ride to say few things about this suspense story we call life. However, once you reach the climax, you get a feeling about the mediocre drama that you enjoyed while it lasted. While some characters are written well, others have shades of traditionalism; and at the end, it slowly moves to the territory of contrived drama, which had the editors cut out, would have made the whole broth tastier. In an attempt to give us happier endings, 3 Storeys sacrifices its art, making it a sweet little film that is just not great enough to talk about once you complete watching it. TN.

    More at http://www.nairtejas.com/

    April 04, 18
  • There is a lot happening in these 140 minutes, and in an attempt to look intelligent, director Khan goes overboard with his hide and seek. The non-linear narrative helps him hide important story arcs from us, which when revealed make you go “wow”, but the wowness only stays for a minute because the next wow factor is on its way. This is the reason why Baaghi 2 is not great. Some crisp editing and a faster pack-up would have made it a tighter and more relishable recipe. As it is, Baaghi 2 is engaging and worth a shot to quench your action genre starvation. TN.

    More at http://www.nairtejas.com/

    March 31, 18
  • There are two main conflicts in Siddharth Malhotra’s second feature film Hichki. First is about a high school class of students who are unable to pass their grade and the second is lead character Naina Mathur’s Tourette’s Syndrome. The former will make you look at the film with familiar grin and tear while the latter will make you re-believe in Rani Mukherji’s talent. As a combination of these two, Hichki falters at the middle, but as a film that introduces Bollywood’s audience to the neurological disorder, it excels. For the entire running time of 2 hours, Hichki reminded me of M Mohanan’s 2011 Malayalam-language drama film Manikyakkallu where a class of mischievous, quarrelsome, and financially backward students are taught the importance of education by an ideal teacher. Hichki is a rehash of that same theme with the only difference of the medical condition. A villain in the school, his troupe of smarter students, and the school administration are what our protagonist has to tackle in order to make her new class of students pass the year. With cringeworthy and slightly uncomfortable sequences, Hichki goes on an uncontrolled trip to a Utopian world where contrived drama is at the top. The blame is both on the writers and director Malhotra for not maneuvering the story better. Mukherjee, as noted earlier, is phenomenal in her character, doing her due diligence when it comes to portraying a person with the syndrome. I also loved Neeraj Kabi’s (last seen in Dibakar Banerjee’s Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! (2015)) distinctive performance as the Student Council in-charge who spews poison with his eyes alone. The kids are great and do what they are told, helping the narrative etch out themes that are highly relevant in today’s competitive classrooms. If Hichki had not sampled the condition then it would have been a failure. As it is now, there is only so much one can enjoy in it, thanks to Mukherjee. TN.

    March 27, 18
  • Capsule Review

    Milind Dhaimade’s debut directorial is like a breath of fresh, warm air in Bollywood. A poignant film that critiques a lack of open spaces in Mumbai. Talking about a bunch of five friends – some in their late 20s and others in early 30s, Tu Hai Mera Sunday, although obnoxiously titled, claims that this lack of open spaces where humans cannot unwind periodically is what is making them go mad. It says that it is one of the biggest issues that we do not fight against today, and instead compromise with our jobs that we don’t like, relationships that are toxic, by holding grudges that are painful, and whatnot. While I can relate to this relevant theme, where Tu Hai Mera Sunday fails is in its climax. After promising a lot of things and even going hellbent emotional over it, it ends like a splash of effervescent water. I’m not talking about a solution, but a steady crescendo to whatever the writers had in their mind. There’s a scene towards the end where a guy goes emotionally berserk about how his friends are just compromising with their lives – and that’s where the theme ends. The remaining parts are fillers. However, what makes the film appealing is these fillers – these tasty sequences that director Dhaimade captures using his able actors to bring out the best about life in general. Whether it is Barun Sobti’s innocence or Shahana Goswami’s outwardly cool attitude or Avinash Tiwary’s jokes, the film sustains because of these bulbs of moving drama that just makes you feel good. With an overall superior cast performance and a slightly off writing here and there, Tu Hai Mera Sunday is a feel-good film that must be watched but not loved. Don’t get any ideas. TN.

    March 22, 18
  • Long Review: Padman

    Akshay Kumar plays Lakshmi, a simple, uneducated man living with his mother, two sisters, and newly-wedded wife, Gayatri. A bit of an oddball in his thought processes, he makes it his life goal to produce low-cost sanitary napkins when he learns about the hard-up conditions that Gayatri and the women around him including his sisters, who have recently hit puberty live in, when it comes to menstruation. The religious aspect of the issue – where menstruating women are supposed to isolate themselves and live outside the house during the cycle (mostly in rural India) because they are considered impure – also bothers him, which is why Padman looks like it has been written with a complete contemplation of the issue.

    Padman, therefore, is a critique of our times when a technically developed country like India that aspires to be digital-ready struggles with something as crucial and necessary as menstrual sanitation. Lakshmi’s attempts to educate the people around him and fight the stigma that is stuck like the plague is much more important than to invent a low-cost napkin that is both efficient and cheap. Despite being a little bit successful in the latter department, Lakshmi continuously struggles to remove the preconceptions about menstruation that people have and which they are not ready to talk about.

    It is because of not just the construction of the sanitary pad but also the construction of the screenplay that this works. Padman excels in all departments, also giving intermediate knowledge about napkins if people don’t know about it already. A well-written plot, it moves ahead without hitting a bump. Of course, there are sequences that are sometimes cringe-worthy and sometimes impossible, but director Balki has evidently taken a lot of cinematic liberty, which is mandatory for a film that captures the entire essence of a social predicament such as this. The fact that Padman is based on the real-life story of the Indian inventor, Arunachalam Muruganantham, would make the viewer more confident and supportive of the structure.

    Akshay Kumar is phenomenal and looks like he came directly out of the aforementioned film’s sets. He carries the whole film on his shoulders and never once shows an inkling of restfulness. If there is a character that I feel an actor has done complete justice to in any film in the past few months, it’d be that of Lakshmi. Equally enchanting is the supremely talented Radhika Apte’s performance who seems to be made just for the role of the village wife. There’s not a single dull moment in Padman, thanks to the performances of the lad and the supporting cast. Sonam Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan grace the screen for some time and do a decent job, but it is the supporting actors that make the whole broth tastier.

    Padman is perhaps R Balki’s best film so far, something that I would even go as far as to list in Kumar’s filmography as well. TN.

    February 10, 18
  • Capsule Review: Tumhari Sulu

    There comes a time in an actor’s career when they reinvigorate their image by giving the best performance of their life. Vidya Balan is that actor in Tumhari Sulu, director Suresh Triveni’s debut full-length feature film. She plays a 30-something homemaker whose life revolves around the chores of her house and taking care of her two pillars – a young son and a timorous husband played by the talented Manav Kaul. She dreams of making it big in life by doing whatever she can get her hands onto as she finds joy in everything. Despite a series of bickering (that may have started since her childhood) by her family members, she finally takes the plunge and decides to work as a radio jockey for a late-night somewhat adult show. How that affects her life and the lives of her two pillars is what Tumhari Sulu is all about – giving the average audience insufficient fodder for thought. It is a highly predictable, and somewhat contrived story of a homemaker who takes up a job, but the beauty of the film is in its making. Director and writer Triveni has crafted a sweet story that is palpable to the core, with the right amount of ingredients for flavor. Supported by melodious music (and songs) and some of the best performances of the year by Balan, Kaul, and Neha Dhupia, Tumhari Sulu manages to bring tears in your eyes, thanks to its overtly melodramatic second half. There is enough to not like in the film, but Balan’s presence on-screen makes Tumhari Sulu look like a dessert with a permanent supply of water. Indian viewers are going to find Tumhari Sulu highly relatable, which further makes it one of the better Bollywood films of 2017. Watch it with your mum. TN.

    January 29, 18
  • Padmaavat is a craftsman’s joy and depicts a lot of elements that currently dictate the world. It’s a tragedy film that emphasizes on all the hate and crime that is around us, and concludes that there is only one solution. Watch Padmaavat for the grand production, Ranveer Singh and his character’s wickedness, and for a reminder about this tragedy called life. TN.

    January 26, 18
  • Capsule Review: Dunkirk

    Dunkirk is unarguably one of the most technical sound films made so far, but at the same time the effect it has on you is limited. For starters, it requires its audience to have good knowledge of the infamous Dunkirk evacuation that happened towards the end of World War II, without which you cannot make complete sense of the plot. And even if you are well-versed with history, the degree of repetitive sequences, albeit beautifully crafted, is just too high to make it an epic war film. The score by Hans Zimmer is arguably the biggest character in Dunkirk, which manages to keep you hooked despite the aforementioned shortcomings. Director Christopher Nolan knows how important the score and camera work are for a film that tries to bring events happening in air, land, and sea together, which is one thing that works well for Dunkirk. There is tension throughout the 100 minutes of running time, thanks to Zimmer’s ticktock tunes, and one that will make you unable to move. Performances are great since dialogue is scarce and subtle, but it still shows how talented Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, and Fionn Whitehead are. The use of numbing score and captivating shots is what hides the hollowness of the plot and what makes this an average watch at best. Director Nolan had set the bar quite too high with his past few films but Dunkirk seems to be missing the trademark. TN.

    January 07, 18