A tight, tense and taut thriller with a compelling mystery backed by some of the best filmmaking on display from a Tamil film in recent memory.
OVERALL SCORE – 4.25/5
Dhuruvangal Pathinaru is a 2016 Tamil thriller written and directed by Karthick Naren (who is 22 years old. What am I doing with my life?). It stars Rahman as its lead along with a whole host of very talented younger actors who make up the remaining cast. The film is a tale of two seemingly unrelated crimes and the investigation carried out by a police officer.
Dhuruvagal Pathinaru is one of the best Tamil films to come out in 2016. It is an edge-of-your-seat thriller with one of the most intricately constructed mysteries I have witnessed in a long time. Writer/Director Karthick Naren weaves an intricate web around the events that occur throughout a seemingly small amount of time in the life of a very experienced cop. The direction on display here is par excellence. It is a high point of joy when one sees a director who is so in control of his surroundings where the background never stops moving and also never stops adding to the intrigue of the film. It keeps the audience glued to the screen by conditioning them to think they may or may not miss an important clue which may help them solve the mystery themselves. It is a refreshing experience and wholly enjoyable.
Rahman is extremely engaging as the hardened cop. For a man who shows such subdued emotions, he is the most gravitating personality on screen. On a personal note, I am a huge fan of police procedurals. Something about a well-made mystery where an old man cop has to use his experience to work a case intrigues me. This film succeeded in reeling me in and holding me by the ear and making me watch it with all the focus I had to offer. The supporting cast, the scene construction, the long unbroken takes where every person hits their cues on a tee, the interesting font choice and so much more make the mystery and tension more palpable. There are a whole host of well-planned visual choices which I urge the readers to look out for because spoiling them would be spoiling the film itself.
The film, as most mysteries would, does have a few aces up its sleeve in terms if twists and turns. Some are better than the others but all of them add to making it a riveting experience. I do have a few knocks against the film but they are quite the personal preferences. The lack of emotional heft (I wouldn’t have called this a downside if the film didn’t draw attention to it) and some moments where the movie’s intelligence drops, which are few and far between, play spoiled sport to an otherwise smartly executed piece of cinema. A few seconds of poor camerawork and a couple of moments where the film lacks attention to detail are things no one but me might notice. But that is only because I am an asshole who has to notice everything.
The film kept me guessing throughout and when I could not guess the thriller till the film revealed it to me, I knew I had watched something special. The narrative, performances, intrigue, tension, confidence in execution, score, editing all add to a film which has used my quota of superlatives to describe it.
OVERALL SCORE – 4.25/5