‘October’: The big Friday movie release this week
Even as the Tamil Nadu film industry strike continues, it’s a fairly packed week at the movies.
Romantic drama October, starring Varun Dhawan and Banita Sandhu, and directed by Shoojit Sarkar, is indeed the sort of film that demands patience, but does not fail to reward it in ample measure, says NDTV. It is difficult to miss its uplifting soul. Impressively understated in its genteel exploration of loss and longing, it is exquisitely crafted. The exceptional technical attributes of the film serve to bolster writer Juhi Chaturvedi’s fantastic screenplay and dialogue. The writing banks on the power of subtlety and on the eloquence inherent in silences to convey the thrust of the emotionally charged story.
Sircar steers the deadly serious spiritual quest with an air of briskness and purpose, says Scroll. Purely in terms of craft, October is many notches above the average Hindi film, in which scenes are lined up one after the other like train coaches. There is both rhythm and flow to the scenes, and the observational camera work yields many lovely standalone moments. October’s biggest risk is the casting of box-office magnet Varun Dhawan against type. Dhawan has the look and body language of an impatient young man going someplace, and his boyish charm compensates for his inability to convey an inner life. Dhawan’s dialogue delivery isn’t varied enough to match the character’s brooding nature, but the actor’s sincerity overlaps with his need to be useful.
Silent horror thriller Mercury, directed by Karthik Subbaraj and starring Prabhu Deva, Sananth Reddy and Deepak Paramesh, is intriguing but ultimately doesn’t add up, says Firstpost. The result of an absence of subtitles is that once you have gotten the gist of a moment, you disengage from the characters and events on screen, especially in the first half hour. The young actors are convincing in their communication of joy, fear and camaraderie, but Prabhu Deva’s character is unclear and his rendition is comical at times.
For the Hollywood fans, American science fiction monster film Rampage—directed by Brad Peyton starring Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris and Malin Åkerman—comes to India this week. Variety magazine says the movie feels like exactly what it is: a mega-budget studio tentpole reverse-engineered from an 8-bit arcade classic (by no fewer than four screenwriters), designed to eat dollars in much the same way the original game gobbled quarters. Watching it, you can imagine the creative team straining to adequately acknowledge the source material—as digital meanies punch holes in skyscrapers, stomp military vehicles, and snatch helicopters out of the air—but they would have been better off starting from scratch.
Back in its day, the original Rampage felt innovative, says The Verge. The live-action Rampage film certainly embraces the 2018 equivalent: standing safely in a crumbling world, watching all hell break loose, and walking away physically and emotionally unscathed. But it’s harder now than it was then to find new ground to explore. In this case, the filmmakers try to innovate largely by making the movie as toothless and easily digestable as possible. Nothing in the film is real enough to care about past the moment, or serious enough to trouble an audience’s sleep.
In the south, Telugu action comedy Krishnarjuna Yudham directed by Merlapaka Gandhi starring Nani touches the subject of human trafficking, but without making a point, says The Times Of India. You wish Nani would go back to the simple and beautiful stories he is known for. The film morphs from a romantic comedy to a thriller that aims to be intense and taut, but fails.
Several releases this week haven’t inspired any reviews yet. These include Marathi drama Hichyasathi Kay Pan, Punjabi film Golak Bugni Bank Te Batua, Bengali movie Aami Ashbo Phirey and Bengali thriller Kabir.