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War for the Planet of the Apes Review (2017) | Epic Conclusion to Caesar’s Tale

War for the Planet of the Apes is as alluring as its prequels. The third installment in the franchise doesn’t disappoint either. It has all the goodness inbred that came scuttling down over from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes movie that we saw in 2014. So it would be safe to say Visual Effects were as stunning as ever. The story treads the aftermath of the collision we saw in the prequel and is taken forward by Woody Harrelson‘s insane character The Colonel. He ignites the events of the tale that ends up swallowing the entire ape community.

Direction and Story of War for the Planet of the Apes (Spoilers Ahead)

Matt Reeves walked in with a premeditated setup that he co-wrote alongside Mark Bomback. The result is an epic story that tries to seethe in Caesar an absent verve of vengeance. Caesar becomes adamant on revenge and becomes so smitten with it that he ends up overlooking his leadership. There is death in his eyes and he wishes to deliver the same to a man who snatched away everything from him.

The direction is paced slow for us to feel the right emotional vibes, connect with the protagonist, to understand why he does what he does. He chooses revenge, letting his guard down, losing his cool, which doesn’t end well for him. Locked in a cage with his entire community he ends up becoming vulnerable. Watching their leader stranded in a similar fate, many of the apes feel disappointed and lost.

Caesar in War for the Planet of the Apes

But he stands for them being the leader he was and ignites that spark of hope in them all over again. He has friends on the outside that help him concoct an escape plan that he then later executes but he can’t let go of that sense of vengeance. So he ventures in to smite at the Colonel’s gate as the rest of the apes try to escape.

The Colonel’s Fate

In a discussion with Caesar, The Colonel spews out how he chose to wipe out humans who were affected by the Simian flu that included his own child too. It was his answer to devolution as the Simian virus was ending up reversing nature’s plan by turning the human mindset into that of apes. Owing to Colonel’s revolting plans there was a whole army knocking at his door to win their internal war.

Whilst some might have been rooting for an epic showdown, the Colonel ends up being a victim to the Simian flu himself. It was like poetic justice delivered on him by nature itself. He becomes what he wanted the world to dread. He ends up taking his own life pulling the trigger on himself.

The Bad Ape Angle

We have a fun character in the form of Bad Ape (Steve Zahn) who is an ape Caesar finds in a hideout. He brings in some humour to the otherwise grim tale using his clumsy acts and broken English. He is an absolute fun charmer and he helps in breaking that sadistic monotony that runs for the major part of the flick.

bad ape in war for the planet of the apes

If I might stretch that moniker further, the flick also has Koban elements written all over it. There is a hint of Koba in his follower apes who have chosen to help the humans and are killing their own kind without batting an eye. We see that in the form of betrayal twice and you can’t help but feel bad for Caesar. It is like even though the evil is broken, there would always be its shards left out in some who would still end up coming after you.

Koba is also referenced when Maurice points out to Caesar in his attempt to deliver justice he has become Koba himself. When the lights in Caesar’s head begins to flicker, we get to see Koba twice as he grins to the reality that faces Caesar. He had indeed become Koba in his madness to avenge his wife and child. He had put his entire ape community in danger by leaving them without a leader. That broken shard had got him too.

Humanity a Curse

There is another important point worth noticing in the flick. It is that of mercy that Caesar shows to the people who came to kill him and his fellow apes. Whilst it is hard for people to get it, and it probably might have furrowed some angry brows in the audience too, it is a thing that sounds so not like humans.

We are not savages.

Caesar wants to make a point by letting some of The Colonel’s men live. And the same night we see The Colonel barging on their doors to kill him. It makes you want to hate mankind instantly for that. Why would one do that? Why can’t they choose peace? What is it with the ego?

The worst feeling is when the guy who had returned to safety owing to Caesar, ends up wanting to shoot Caesar as if he was obliged to. It is insanely inhumane of him to do that. That’s also where you want to rip his heart out for being a complete ungrateful douche.

The Good Left in Humanity

Whilst the writers of War for the Planet of the Apes paint a picture of a dystopian world where everything human makes you want to retch, we have also been presented a character of a mute girl Nova (Amiah Miller) who speaks a thousand words without saying anything. She is a subtle wink on how human innocence is the only thing worth cherishing. And that innocence can only be found in a child. Children only register things that are “immediate” without having an understanding of the background.

Nova doesn’t realize she is sick of the Simian, that finding her would mean people hunting her. Her ballsy act can be witnessed in the part where she walks in to save Caesar by offering him food and water. She is unperturbed by who might see her around helping out the apes and yet she does the right thing. Nova saves Caesar by helping him stand on his feet.

Nova in war for the planet of the apes

She is probably the only thing good about humans that Caesar too comes to terms with.

You can order War for the Planet of the Apes from here: The Farewell

In a world of cinematic universes where people choose to retire, (and it’s been aptly done so far with the likes of Creed and Logan doing us the honors) apes had to do it too. They had to part with their extraordinary leader Caesar and his run had to be the most revered of all times. Caesar gets a franchise he deserves, as Matt Reeves allows him to call it quits.

Andy Serkis served us good, and even though we wanted to see more of him, it was time his character was put to rest too. He is like a God to all apes and without the direction he had shown his fellow apes it would have been hard for any of them to even stand a chance. That being said the future will now be written on the grave of Caesar as apes would remember his colossal sacrifice.

The Final Verdict

War for the Planet of the Apes deserves every accolade there is. It is a conclusive part that celebrates the character of Caesar the most as we see him dwindle and then rise again like the warrior he is. It teaches us so many values in the form of mercy, that nature has its own way of punishing, that nothing good ever comes of revenge and that there is still some good left in the world.

Epic conclusion to the Caesar saga!

Check out the trailer of War for the Planet of the Apes movie:

Spider-Man Homecoming Review (2017) | Importance of Being Ready

Spider-Man Homecoming portrays a very realistic view of how our friendly neighborhood Spiderman should be like. He is vulnerable because he is just a kid. He is trying to make his mark to be recognized as one of the big ones (Avengers) and yet he has so much to learn. Spider-Man Homecoming is like that realization of Spiderman about himself, his powers, his capabilities and his limitations. He faces danger head on and narrowly escapes death so many times, that it has him doubting his abilities. And it’s a good thing for his character that’s trying to become something huge.

For those who have already watched Captain America: Civil War movie they know how effortless he had made it all seem in the flick. It was almost like Spidey could beat anyone any day. And that’s probably what he was thinking too. He became smug, too confident of his powers, and in that desperation started to get ahead of himself. To be given an opportunity to tag shoulders against the elite that was really something, but to consider yourself worthy of a seat alongside, now that was too much for a teen to ask.

The movie is all about a kid trying to prove himself that he is something more, and that he be considered for future missions since he could handle it. But he faces one of the most challenging villains in the form of Vulture (Michael Keaton) who makes him believe that he isn’t yet ready for it. That forms the real basis of the tale of Spider-Man Homecoming.

Direction of Spider-Man Homecoming

The direction of Jon Watts is pretty cool and is on the lines of all Marvel movies. It is subtle at many occasions, cuts in at just the right time to keep the story chugging forward. The best part is that unlike The Amazing Spider-Man series it doesn’t rush into anything. It shows us just one rad villain, letting us retain as much focus as we want. Jon Watts lets us connect all the dots with the Avengers and Civil War so as to let us know that Spidey era was all along happening alongside. He chooses to show some of the bits cleverly using Spidey’s very own personal camera. It is very satisfying to watch.

The screenplay is brilliantly penned and there is humour almost at every corner. Jon makes sure you thoroughly enjoy the flick and all of its other aspects. He ropes in a fun character Ned (Jacob Batalon) as a sidekick making the Spidey story very much relatable.

Tom Holland as Spidey

Tom Holland absolutely nails Spiderman. People might have come to know him when he bagged his first Spidey project, but I remember him playing the kid in The Impossible. And he played his part so convincingly that I knew he was going to climb the ladder to success real quick. And lo, he is already at the peak of his career at such a young age.

still from Spider-Man Homecoming movie

His acting prowess is a delight to watch. He puts the word “amazing” in the Spider-Man owing to his perfect size, a mouthy mouth and a perfect physique. Holland is also brimming with emotions and you can see them ooze out whenever something huge is about to go down. He is a wonderful actor and has a bright career ahead. There’s not a morsel of doubt there.

Michael Keaton as Vulture (Spoilers Ahead)

It was a great decision to cast Michael Keaton as the infamous villain Vulture. He proves himself really worthy in those bird shoes yet again. He is a great actor who makes every act really convincing to watch. His character’s introduction is done pretty smartly. We are shown that he is a circumstantial bad guy. His operation is cut off when Stark’s DODC shows up at his gates taking away his job leaving him in a huge debt. He ends up selling Chitauri technology to create weapons of mass destruction and selling them on the black market to earn a livelihood. Eight years later we see him reeking of villainy as the badass Vulture.

Marvel is fond of stories that poke a finger at the politics and the government that create villains out of simple men. It is a beautiful satire that leaves us wondering on how a huge disaster could have been avoided in the first place. Also, it is a slap in the face of all those high-seated personnel who create monsters out of men. It only compels us to be more considerate and humane towards each other.

In the end, we see him protecting Spiderman’s true identity that shows us that the good still pervades in him.

If I knew who he was, he’d already be dead.

The Iron Man Angle

There is just the right amount of Iron Man in Spider-Man Homecoming to make you understand the importance of responsibility and why Iron Man thinks that it is crucial for Peter Parker to complete his education. He drops in more than once to save his ass, and teaches him life’s valuable lessons by being a fatherly figure.

If you are nothing without the suit, then you shouldn’t have it.

Even though Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) doesn’t act like one he is an idol to Peter. Peter looks up to him a lot. Even though nobody says it loud and clear, “with great power comes great responsibility” it is flung around in situational plots. A job beautifully performed by the writers.

still of tony stark and peter parker in spiderman homecoming

Eventually, when Tony is immensely impressed by Peter for capturing Vulture single-handedly, he wishes to introduce him as an Avenger. But Peter turns him down realizing that he isn’t ready yet. And we see it throughout the movie on how many times he screws up.

There are tons of times he narrowly escapes death. He even skips ahead on his Suit lessons and ends up paying the price. It is this realization that makes him understand the importance of “one step at a time”. It is overwhelming for any man to directly skip to the final lesson because he wouldn’t be prepared for surprises. And no one has succeeded ever by going unprepared.

Spidey finally understands why it is important for him to be “ready”, and focus on his studies to take baby steps into the men’s world.

You can order Spider-Man: Homecoming from here:

The Million Dollar Debate

If you would notice closely you would realize Spider-Man got his ass kicked throughout the movie. There was hardly a time when he didn’t screw up. Now that’s a weird idea for a superhero even though how sick his moves were or how cool he appeared in action, it complements the story beautifully. Besides, it was never about him being dope and not making mistakes, the movie was entirely about him making mistakes. So that he understands the value of being truly “ready”.

Nevertheless, we see the villain kicking his ass too much throughout. The final fight leaves you with a sour taste because it ends so quickly, too quickly for a boss fight. Also, figuring out his true identity wasn’t at all tough for Vulture which kind of poses a question why it is hard for people to figure out Superman‘s true identity even though the bloke just wears specs.

The way the movie ends opens a jar of villains waiting to be unleashed at the poor lad. The topmost contender is Mac Gargan. Let’s wait and watch!

The Final Verdict

Spider-Man Homecoming is brilliantly written and directed. Tom Holland simply takes it to a whole new level. With MCU trying to spin related webs to keep all the dots connected, watching this flick becomes even more exciting. With him signing 6 MCU movies the future of Spidey looks all the very more bright. Can’t wait to watch more of him.

Check out the trailer of Spider-Man: Homecoming here:

Transformers The Last Knight (2017) | Michael Bay’s Epic Failure

I went in with zero hopes to watch Transformers The Last Knight after being one of the victims to 2014’s epic debacle. I thought maybe Michael Bay might have learnt from his mistakes and upgraded himself even to a certain extent based on how bad the flick was. But I was dead wrong. I can’t believe how impossible it is for some people to change, or even try to bring in the winds of change.

Direction of Transformers The Last Knight

Michael Bay seems to have challenged himself on how bad he could go with the franchise and this is by far the worst. Transformers The Last Knight is all about Kabooms and twelve-year-old humour just like the last part was. The story is a complete dud trying its best to prod into our history to deliberately build up things that don’t make sense. And we come up with a nonsensical transforming jargon that has stopped to appear cool now. And Bumblebee fist bumping his chest has become so lame that it makes you want to abhor the guy who is even thinking stuff like that. I am going to just point all my fingers at our old friend Mikey here.

In a glint of seriousness, Michael Bay chooses to make a cheap shot at humour as if that’s what the audience was looking up to. To scathe the Merlin tale by choosing Stanley Tucci again in a different avatar, (oh! please he’s beginning to get on our nerves), is just outright pathetic.

still from transformers the last knight movie

Also, Bay decides to go with a sling at the father-daughter angle yet again by introducing Isabela Moner as Izabella into the tale. Her addition was like the most pointless thing ever. She doesn’t do anything in the entire flick. And is plainly there to remind Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) of how he used to be a father too.

The saddest thing probably is the number of times Optimus Prime reminds us of who he is.

I am Optimus Prime.

At one point you begin to wonder if he is indeed the smart ones in the whole Transformers unit.

Milked Enough?

Bay chooses to shoot the movie in all spheres from lithosphere to hydrosphere to atmosphere. You realize that and you know for certain that he must have come up with the idea when he couldn’t think of anything else. To make things more interesting of course. But that’s just as stupid as it sounds.

You can’t help but wonder if they will ever run out of stories to tell. But these stories have become so boring and monotonous that it’s pointless to even try. Every single movie we have seen the Transfomers talking about not coming back, or leaving for good but they always come back. Aarrrrgh……I think the transformers need to just really relax for good and leave us alone for a while.

Transformers The Last Knight like every other movie in the franchise is still miles away from ‘focus’. It is running forward with all the weird camera angles that Bay just loves to exploit.

I can’t believe why Mark Wahlberg has been still nodding to this franchise. Oh! Wait…the money. Almost forgot the fuel for every human being. That also explains why Bay can’t concentrate on his other projects like for instance last year’s 13 hours. It was pretty okay-ish if not good.

And why did Anthony Hopkins even sign up for this? That’s just too beneath him. His presence is pointless and he does all these pointless things that’s just hurtful to watch.

The Love Interest

It is funny how Bay never misses out on the spices that constitute his movie. It is like a formula he works upon in his lab where he always keeps the hotness quotient close by. This time playing the love interest of our protagonist is Laura Haddock who is every hot girl replacement ever. And you see, he chooses not to repeat these lovely ladies (except for Megan Fox) for the mere fact that audience would want something new. Hey! What about the protagonist?

Haddock is also primarily chosen so as to recreate that fun British-American cute rivalry so that people who haven’t somehow still heard such jokes a thousand times before could guffaw loudly in the theatre while you are trying to make sense of the flick.

You can watch it for the mere fact that you wish to stick loyal to the franchise if not to what Bay ended up making it. If not the story then at least the action would enthuse you.

You can order the movie from here:

Check out the trailer of Transformers The Last Knight here:

Baby Driver Review (2017) | Another Ingenious Project of Edgar Wright

Baby Driver is an explosive eccentric ride into the head of a guy suffering from tinnitus. Even though it doesn’t bank on an eye-popping plot, Edgar Wright’s genius makes it all the very more exciting. The screenplay is great and subtly written. There is ample humour to keep the story going. And the work done with the music is just so satisfying that you can’t help but sway to it. It is hard not to notice it, and when you do, which you will all the time, everything just turns to be outright fun.

Edgar Wright’s Direction

If you are a fan of Edgar Wright you already know how amazing his movies are. The way he experiments with things, the way his stories run non-stop when there’s action entailed and the cool humour it tags all along almost all of the times are all those things that help him stand out. Baby Driver’s direction is one of the most exciting things about the movie.

You see our protagonist Baby (Ansel Elgort) has a tinnitus thing going on in his ears, and he uses music to shut all the background noise out. He has become so much attached to music that he doesn’t care who is watching, he performs all his tasks to the beat of the tune. Like dancing to the cadence, stopping where the tempo is building up, and executing all his acts based on the beat. It literally constitutes his life and consumes him.

You know it’s really relatable in a way because at some point you too might have waited for a drum beat to come to do something in a perfect sync. I mean that’s exactly how we choose to do certain things when our favourite music is on. Only here it has become Baby’s life. That’s what he has been doing all the time. Music is it.

The most ingenious part of Edgar Wright’s direction is that he has planned out an entire movie based on the songs that play in Baby’s ears. So even though it’s a gunshot or a bomb blast everything happens in perfect sync, and discovering that as you are on the go of unspooling its storyline you end up feeling undeniably contended.

Ansel Elgort as the Baby Driver (Spoilers Ahead)

Up until this point, Ansel Elgort was only getting by owing to his cute face. Hereby he gets to show some of his acting skills too. He has been called out by Edgar to stay unperturbed by the camera and sway as if no one’s watching. And he aces that to perfection.

His character Baby is a pro and he can drive like one, with just the right demeanour needed to exhume confidence. Baby is also great with some nerdy stuff. So he proves with a hobby of recording voices and then exscinding it to turn into awesome music. It is a different story how that wont gets him into trouble.

His character is immensely sensitive proven via some regular flashbacks and his attachment to his dead mother’s tape. He values friendship more than anything and expects people to do the same. However, he is in a wrong business to expect that. Well, actually he is indebted to stay in that wrong business and Kevin Spacey as Doc, badass as he is and hard to reason with, takes him for granted. It is that pushing him over to the edge and him ending up getting cornered that compels him to take drastic measures.

Kevin Spacey’s character Doc is the guy who calls the shots. And even though there are bad guys aplenty who end up being jealous of the smugness Baby brings to the table, Baby sways through trouble doing his job with perfection. He is sweet, caring and smart. In short, Ansel Elgort is a perfect fit for the role. Good call there, by the casting team.

You can order Baby Driver movie from here:


Other Characters

We get to see Jon Bernthal for a cameo who plays Griff for a mission. He is merely there to take a shot at Baby. For the story that really matters we have Jamie Foxx playing Bats who is a psychopath, you can’t put a pin to. You know almost instantly that he is not the guy to be trusted and he proves that on so many occasions.

The moment you catch feelings is the moment you catch a bullet.

He brings that tinge of unpredictability to the tale. Bats receives poetic justice in an unforeseen turn of events. It is really satisfying to watch his fate turn up like that.

Then we have Jon Hamm playing Buddy who used to be what his moniker suggests. But given the way things turn out, he ends up being the guy shooting at Baby. He has acted brilliantly in the movie, and makes the villainy very convincing to watch. Eiza Gonzalez plays Darling to Jon and is merely there as a trophy he carries around. Her absence creates a monster out of him and then he takes the movie to a high voltage of thrill. She plays second fiddle during the high time of the movie when Baby was bent on saving his love interest Debora from Bats while the latter ends up challenging Buddy. That’s when she gets to really speak.

baby driver movie still

Debora is played by Lily James. You might remember her from Cinderella. She does a fine job again as Debora trying to put herself in a pretty picture against Baby. She is a lovely girl and her expressions do most of the talking.

The Final Verdict

From the trailers, it seemed Baby Driver was going to be all about Ansel going Fast and Furious on the roads, and that there would be action throughout, but Edgar being Edgar puts just the right amount of everything to it. It doesn’t speak of action entirely but packs in charms of subtlety in the form of music, acting, drama and humour.

It is a genuine thoughtful project that lets us feel an entire flick through the vantage of a boy behind the wheels who can’t put down his earphones or the mundane world wouldn’t make sense. The music is absolutely ravishing. Steven Price does a fine job with the composition too.  His music keeps us on our toes forever.

The flick is a complete package. Go watch it today!

Check out the trailer of Baby Driver here:

Nocturnal Animals Review (2016) | Full Analysis and Ending Explained

Speechless! Nocturnal Animals would render you dumbstruck. It is an outstanding avant-garde flick that is more art than cinema. Yes, there is art laid out in the form of poetry and if you pay attention you would appreciate the stories they tell. The movie ends in a way so as to leave you speculating. It’s beautifully done and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. Seems like a very straightforward tale but really, there is something deep going on there.

So what is it? Without wasting any more time let’s begin, shall we?

Nocturnal Animals Plot Analysis (Spoilers Ahead)

The movie starts with a quite unusual scene which you don’t normally find many directors attempting these days. There are fat naked ladies celebrating. Their flab’s dancing all around their body along with them. They seemed to have shed our very idea of shame in things we consider shameful, and they are simply enjoying it. They are happy with their body even though it’s a contrasting image of what our society has imagined for us. Their idea of happy is breaking all the rules that we have learned to live with. Some of them are leering at you. Again something we consider impolite.

Explaining The Opening Scene

Then we see an image of a bustling highway in Nocturnal Animals, implying the urban life, trying to connect the dots about how we choose to embrace that idea as time flies. Life goes on, nay, it trundles down different lanes choosing one path or the other. One of the roads shows a suburban lane where the traffic movement is really slow. It insinuates that at one point our life too will become stodgy like that slow moving traffic, and then (cars have now stopped) eventually stop.

Immediately after we see those naked overweight ladies playing dead. It symbolizes that’s how we go. Naked to the core. One of the lady’s wand is no longer in her hands, and she’s turned away from it. It symbolizes that the thing that gave her joy in her life has left her now that she is dead. It’s no longer with her. That’s how life is. You don’t get to take the good things with you when you die. And when you die all the good things that surround you leave you to depart alone.

The second lady is seen lying face down on one of the pedestals. It means she can’t even see into our world, or does she even want to? Or is it the shame that has her looking downwards. It’s the variety of life we are. Some go proudly into the soil, some choose to bury their secrets along with them. But none of those people get to take what they love. Their reason for happiness stays above the soil. Even the clothes stay. You go down naked leaving every material thing in this world behind.

still from Nocturnal Animals of Amy Adams junk culture

Susan Morrow

Susan Morrow (Amy Adams) is a crucial character in Nocturnal Animals. She is the exact opposite of the art she has launched and overseeing. She is the paragon of beauty, wears modish clothes and poses a contrasting image to those fat ladies. We hear an off-screen noise of her taking deep breaths as she connects with the reality of “you die naked, you should live naked”. She is living a lavish life, our idea of gaudy livelihood and yet there is a certain sadness in her eyes. She is slowly coming back to her senses, to her world, as she begins to breathe normally, and just then we are shown a moving traffic once again.

Her life hasn’t become a slow moving traffic yet. She is still young.

Susan drives to her home. Her gates are so garish and shiny that her car lights reflect off it causing her discomfort. We are so madly running after lurid things in our life that we choose to live with all the discomfiture it tags along. That one scene speaks a thousand words if you really think about it. Just as she drives in, the door automatically closes. Immediately, after someone arrives to a closed door in a different car. Whoever it was we could learn about the distance Susan has grown with him, as if her life had closed a door on him.

We are then depicted an ostentatious living, a neighborhood that is just buildings and trees that are lined up against the roads in a symmetrical fashion. A tacky display – they have lost their meaning in life.

Life of Susan

Susan and her hubby have recently moved in and she has received a package from her ex-husband Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal) who has finished a novel and wishes Susan to read it first. He has also given his number and email id for her to contact him. Her hubby Hutton Morrow (Armie Hammer) pretends to not remember Edward as she fills him on about his novel. When Hutton says if she has even talked to Edward in like 20 years, she corrects him saying 19. You could sense that Edward was one of the most important parts of her life, and that she missed him profusely.

Then we feel the strained relationship of the Morrows as they talk about how Hutton misses out on everything and that he has to once again head out to New York.

One of the most interesting conversations happen when Susan sadly reflects:

Susan: You know the strange thing is is, I don’t really care about all this art.
Hutton: I care. It pisses me off.

Susan realizes how Hutton simply wishes to show off and that’s why he cares about it, and not that he tries to even understand it. He is too shallow to fathom.

Strained Relationship

In a tete-a-tete with a friend, she confides that the relationship is indeed strained.

I think we just want different things, or I want different things.

On being asked if she still loves him, the topic gets changed. Carlos (Michael Sheen) delivers one of the most insightful thoughts on Susan when they are having dinner. Carlos lets her know that her work about junk culture was incredible. She truly believes our culture to be complete junk.

Carlos: Nobody really likes what they do.
Susan: Then why do we do it.
Carlos: Because we are driven. Maybe a bit insecure. We get into things when we are young and because we think they mean something.
Susan: And then we find out that they don’t.

Carlos advises her to accept the absurdity of the world, and that they are in a much better state than the real world, and that they should be grateful for that.

Reading the Book Nocturnal Animals

We are shown her being on her meds, as she has been having trouble sleeping lately. Her hand lingers, her thoughts pucker up when she finds “For Susan” written on the second page of Nocturnal Animals. She feels happy that Edward has written something for her, and dedicated an entire book to her.

That’s when the book’s story begins. It’s a wonderful way of depicting a parallel tale whenever Susan digs her head to read.

The story places the author in the shoes of Tony Hastings. Isla Fisher plays his wife Laura Hastings. Ellie Bamber is their daughter and all three of them are making a trip to Marfa. The way to Marfa is deserted. It goes dark quickly.

No phones. No people.

As they are driving through the night, a bunch of hooligans intersect them and ask them to pull over. It is a shocking run of events and even if you were there driving that car instead of Tony, you would have no other option but to stop.

Meanwhile, we see Susan in a trauma trying to go in complete sync with the happenings of the book. She is empathizing with the characters and feeling every bit of trepidation that the family felt.

The Unfortunate Event

Tony is trying to make the most of the situation. Trying his level best to get out of it. He is a decent guy and you could tell by the way he talks with hooligan no. 1 Ray Marcus (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) that he is simply trying to protect his family. But things go south soon with Ray and his other two friends forcing themselves into his car and driving away with Laura and India. It is so heartbreaking to see, having no control over the situation, and being completely incapacitated to help his family.

You could feel your heart shattering into pieces with that look Tony gives as all the noise numbs out, as if that’s the last of their voices he is going to hear of them again.

Susan can’t read further because it has drained her out, as it manages to drain any viewer out. You can’t feel sorry enough. It is one of those moments of a good book that forces you to take a pit stop and think about what the author has written. There is just too much pain. It makes her think about her husband’s safety. She calls Hutton to confirm if he has reached safely. That’s also where she gets a strong inkling of him cheating on her.

She continues to read Nocturnal Animals book to find out what happens next.

You can order Nocturnal Animals movie from here:

Lou (Karl Glusman) the third offender sits with Tony as he drives to follow them. But Lou fools him into believing that they are at the end of the road. Then he dumps him there taking the car back. After a while, Lou returns with a pissed off Ray trying to find Tony. Tony hides behind some rocks unwilling to come out, out of fear. They drive away.

The Mental Trauma

The dawn breaks and Tony is seen walking his way to the road where he had last seen a house. He makes a call from there to the police and they suggest him to retire to a motel nearby.

There is a beautiful contrast that goes on as Tony gets into the bathtub. Susan outside the book too goes into one, feeling the exact pain Tony underwent unable to put a pin on his wife and kid, constantly wondering about their safety. And preparing himself for what might have happened to them. Insane unthinkable thoughts visit him and you know you are feeling the same as a mute viewer. He cries incessantly as the director chooses to subtly display it through water droplets trickling down on a mirror with him in its reflection.

still of Jake Gyllenhaal as Tony from Nocturnal Animals movie

Bobby Andes

In comes Bobby Andes (Michael Shannon) in the Nocturnal Animals book. He comes to pick up Tony from the motel to help find his family at the location of the crime. They trace back his steps to a cattle station where he finds two naked bodies intertwined on a red burnt-out sofa. It is like a work of art only the most poignant ever because it reeks of death. As Andes helps him identify the bodies, Tony can only manage:

Is she alright?

There’s a locket on India’s face which we will see Tony carrying around for the later part of the book as a mark to remember them by.

Susan is taken aback when she finds his family’s plight like that. She is worried sick immediately about her own daughter Samantha (India Menuez). Her real name a coincidence? I don’t think so. Tom Ford chooses to put the same naked image of her intertwined with a shade of red aginst her boyfriend to get us thinking of how Susan is imaging her in that moment.

The Flashback with Edward

She begins to think of her time with Edward, about how they had met after a long time and decided to go on a date. They get to talking about her parents who were really old-fashioned in their ways and it pissed her off.

They have an antiquated idea of how I should live my life.

Edward, the sweet guy he is, tries to remember her mother for her. He recollects her being nice to him when his father had died even though Susan debunks that very idea. She doesn’t want to be compared with her mother.

You both have the same kind of sadness in your eyes.

He says all the right things, inspires her to follow her dream making falling in love with him really easy.

After a while we see a conversation being followed up between Susan and her mother. Susan is wanting to get married to Edward and move to Texas with him, but her mother is strongly against that idea.

The things you love about him now are the things you will hate in a few years.

She calls Edward fragile and weak pointing one low moment in his life when his father had died. The contrast there, of how Edward looked highly of her mother because she was there when he needed someone the most, and the way Susan’s mother writing him off for being a crybaby is just too much for Susan to handle.

Even though she doesn’t want to be compared to her mother this is one powerful line she drops on Susan:

We all eventually turn into our mothers.

Identifying Lou

Going to the book again, Tony is having a hard time remembering the culprit’s face, but in one of his nightmares he makes him out. As time passes by, Andes manages to rope one in during an attempted hold-up at a supermarket. One of the felon is shot so we are left with two now.

Lou, the guy who had driven along with Tony to a secluded spot is identified at once, as Andes promises to bag the main culprit Ray.

Susan is empathizing immensely thinking about Edward all the time, of what he might have been contemplating, about all the pain he was forced to silently experience.

Susan: Why are you so driven to write.
Edward: I guess it’s a way of keeping things alive. You know, saving things that will eventually die. And if I write it down then it will last forever.

She confides to a co-worker about Edward saying how brutally she had ended her relationship with him. She tells her about his book as well that’s outright painful and violent. It is getting its toll on her.

You know me, I never sleep.

She questions her life’s decisions. Wondering about the thrill she sought leaving behind a crucial morsel that could have reshaped her life.

Do you ever feel like your life has turned into something you never intended?

The Office Art Work

Nocturnal Animals can’t be commended enough for its art. There is an art of a naked woman’s ass hung up at Susan’s office. Another smirk at shunning off the junk culture. She wishes to be that bold, fearless idea, wearing what others consider impolite like a framed art on the wall.

There’s an art of a deer lanced profusely with arrows too. It is a poignant sight because clearl, only one or two arrows might have done the job. But people kicking a dead dog is simply pathetic. It resonates beautifully with Edward. She considers Edward to be the guy she had kicked when he was down. I will come to that part of how.

still of Revenge art in nocturnal animals movie

Then she walks across an Art piece that says “REVENGE” in a symmetrical manner. All Es are placed in the center, as if saying every revenge has one thing in common – that modicum of satisfaction. It is portrayed in the form of E’s symmetry and the painting seems to bleed its colors. That’s the form in which every revenge ends. She stares at it blankly looking at the Es as if E meant Edward. How he badly wishes to avenge his family. And since she has been reading about that in the book, she could feel how badly Edward’s character Tony needs it.

A co-worker walks in with her phone telling her how she could babysit her own child using an app. On checking out the baby in the phone Susan accidentally drops it when she sees an image of Ray’s character she has unknowingly imagined from the book. It is clearly an accident depicting how the events of the book have taken a toll on her. But it also symbolizes how she was reckless with her own baby too, putting perspective in the word REVENGE.

About Change

She imagines Edward in pain still wearing their wedding ring. It is hard for her to brush that image off. She is thinking of what she did to him.

Susan is against letting a worker go, which she had earlier made up her mind to.

Sometimes maybe it’s not such a good idea to change things quite so much.

Even though it was a curt remark at one of the board members who she was trying to get at, it also means she accepts that it wasn’t right of her to leave Edward bringing in such a vast change in her life. Because it didn’t turn out as great as she had imagined.

There is another art of a man shooting another who seems happy to be shot at. There’s fire behind him that seems to be taking him anyway. And yet he is willingly letting the impending murder happen. It reflects so much with Edward who is willing to die because he feels dead all the time. He is a sad soul like every sad person out there who believes everything is lost. He is allowing life to take a shot at him and to pull that trigger. Also, he is burning from inside wishing a quick death.

Pinning Ray Marcus

Back in the story again, Andes locates Ray Marcus accompanying Tony who identifies him as the main culprit. They take him down to the trailer where he had raped and killed Tony’s wife and daughter. Tony loses it trying to get something out of him and hits him in the head.

I wanna know the exact story, what you did to them. I wanna know what they said. I wanna know what my wife said and I wanna know what my daughter said. I wanna know how you killed them. And I wanna know if they knew it was happening to them. I wanna know what they felt. I wanna know if they hurt. Answer me.

The Flashback of Downfall

Susan thinks of her time with Edward when things began to coil up in the corner. It was the moment they started having disagreements, and things kind of escalated. On being shown one of his works, Susan gives it a critical eye to which Edward says:

Nobody writes about anything but themselves.

And the dissent becomes huge. She fails to understand Edward’s creativity, at the same time wondering where is it going to lead him.

Do you know what it feels like to put yourself out on the line creatively and then have someone you love tell you that they don’t understand it?

That’s when Hutton swoops in. It was her desperate time and she ended up falling for him.

Edward and Susan’s final fight is when things begin to crumble. She walks away from him turning him down as Edward tries to put back some sense in her.

When you love someone you work it out. You don’t just throw it away. You have to be careful with it. You might never get it again.

Ray Walks Free

We get to see how good Andes is in the movie Nocturnal Animals, when he breaks it to Tony that he has cancer. He has been so much invested in bringing justice to Tony and his poor family that he has completely forgotten all about himself.

Do you have anyone in your life?

Andes takes a good time to think about the aforementioned question as he tries to remember that he doesn’t have anyone except an estranged daughter.

When they come to figure out about Ray’s clean walk, they are both desperate to provide some lynching justice of their own. Andes has got nothing to lose and they agree on pinning Ray for good.

They tag him to a pub from where they take both Ray and Lou to a secluded place at Andes’ camp. Things escalate as Ray manages to escape free as a bird while Lou gets shot.

The Abortion

At the exact moment, a bird crashes into the windowpane of Susan’s house. It is poetry for how a person thinks that there is a way ahead right through but ends up overseeing the adversity that knocks him out. Then it could also be a remark about the thing that happens next in her recollections where she had chosen to abort Edward’s child. The bird, here a probable daughter, thought she was going to see the world but Susan smacks her down. She is aborted even before she could fly.

still of Jake Gyllenhaal as Edward in Nocturnal Animals

She says those words out loud that forms the entire basis of the story of Nocturnal Animals.

I am gonna live to regret this. I regret it now.

Immediately after we see Edward staring at her drenched with knowledge about the abortion. That’s her regret that she has to live with, because it has pushed Edward into darkness. She is unable to find him for 19 long years, because he wouldn’t pick the phone or talk to her. Because she did something so despicable that ended up upending his life.

The Final Showstopper of Nocturnal Animals

Back in the book story, again after shooting Lou Tony breaks down remembering how helpless he had been. How helpless he had felt.

I should have stopped it. I should have protected them. I should have seen it coming. I should have stopped it.

As suggested by Edward once “Nobody writes about anything but themselves” you can understand that the helplessness was exactly how he felt when he let that abortion take place. He could have stopped it by abating disagreements, or walking in just in the nick of time, changing her mind to stop Susan from doing what she did. And all that frustration goes into the writing where he ended up being weak where it mattered the most. And he laments it profusely giving one of his best performances. Jake’s an amazing actor really!

Trying to find Ray they both split as Tony ends up barging into the exact place where Ray was. It was where he had murdered his family. A perfect setup to draw that vengeance sword in him.

still of Aaron Taylor Johnson as Ray Marcus in Nocturnal Animals

Ray tries to get through him pressing the nerve where it hurt him the most.

You are too weak. You are too weak to do anything about it.

That’s when he shoots Ray twice before being hit by a crowbar Ray was hiding.

That Weak Epithet

If you think about it that’s the exact thing that had ended their relationship. Susan had blamed Edward for being too weak. It was the high point of the Nocturnal Animals book since that’s how Edward used to feel about when someone called him weak. Because he was strong, and that’s why he decided to bring down the justice sword on him showing him what he was really made of.

The dawn breaks and Tony walks out one-eyed stumbling across the dead body of Ray. There is no one around and he shoots once in the sky to get attention, but the recoil is too hard on him and he falls down. Trying to crawl he ends up shooting himself. It is an accident as he slowly fades away holding on to his locket pointing out that justice to his family was finally delivered. While dying there is a slight content smile on his face as he accepts death without any regrets.

Back to the real world, now since the book story is now over, Susan is feeling her locket too. That locket looks the same as Tony was seen wearing. I guess it must have been Edward’s gift at some point to Susan to signify family or love.

The Ending of Nocturnal Animals Explained

She gets a message from Edward asking her to let him know the exact time and place and that he would be there. She then tries to remember all the warm moments she had spent with him. Susan wants that again. She is still not over him and she is hopeful for their meeting. Things are going pretty bad for her in the relationship department, and Edward was always that spark missing from her life.

Susan slithers into her best dress, removing her lipstick remembering Edward to be the one who adored her for who she was and not for the girl she pretended to be. Just like the art we saw about the obese dancing ladies, she wishes to be real and unbothered by that junk culture telling its stories on her lips.

She chooses to put away that ring, and spends hours looking in the mirror primping and preening herself so that Edward would like her even more and fall in love with her again. There’s that idea of a happily ever after in her mind that she is really looking forward to.

At the Restaurant

She reaches the promised spot in a fancy restaurant sits at her table, and keeps looking at the door waiting for Edward. She feels the absence of that ring on her finger and wonders about it. There are loud footsteps as if someone is approaching but it isn’t Edward.

That’s another turning point of Nocturnal Animals. Edward doesn’t show up.

She realizes in the end that she has been stood up. That it was Edward’s intention all along. Taking away that last straw of hope from her to see her suffer. He was never coming back. He just bound her in hopes with the book and everything layering up lies to get his REVENGE! She had aborted their child, an unforgivable crime in the eyes of Edward and he wanted to get back at her. It is a sweet revenge of building up immense hope for a future together and then crashing it with a snap of the finger. It is a fitting vengeance if you look at it. Edward shows that he is not weak by taking such a bold step. And the curtain falls.

The Final Verdict

The director of Nocturnal Animals, Tony Ford does a fabulous job, turning a violent tale of vengeance into something more. It isn’t just the book that is the intended story, but the actual life of Susan that ends up becoming one. The way it ends leaves you with thousands of questions. You can’t stop thinking about the end of both the stories. Both the stories end up showing that Edward and Tony are not weak. They get their revenge one way or the other.

I can’t stop thinking about Nocturnal Animals either. Watching it made me profoundly sad. Rewatching it just tells me how intelligently it has been crafted. Yes, it makes me sad again. There are tons of moments in it that tears you apart from the inside. It is beautifully helmed.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams take Nocturnal Animals to a whole new level. It is hard not to feel or cry when they do. You can’t oversee Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s extraordinary performance as Ray Marcus as well. He is such an amazing actor. He becomes a wicked character so bad that it’s hard to recognize him through that mask of accent he puts on.

Tom Ford gets into your head like a director who is really serious about movies. His way of looking at art and choosing to bind the flick through it is absolutely ravishing. By far one of the greatest directors I have had the good hap of encountering.

Nocturnal Animals is a worth watch. It is timeless so if you haven’t watched it already please do. Nocturnal Animals deserves all the love.

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Cars 3 Movie Review (2017) | A Story of Selflessness and Sacrifice

Cars 3 movie is a serious improvement over the prequel we saw six years ago. It has a better story to tell. There are even selfless life lessons to learn from here and even though Cars 3 movie is a tad slow for some people’s taste, it races past all the waving flags to count as a good entertainer nevertheless.

The main theme of Cars 3 movie this time isn’t about chasing your own dreams, rather taking a back seat to identify other’s. Its selfless culminating point holds as the nub of the story it intends to bring the protagonist up to speed with. It is more about making a colossal sacrifice by being altruistic and focusing on those who are in need of their shot at life.

While I choose to take away the good from the flick, the movie isn’t all impeccable either. The fact that it chooses to be nostalgic for most of the part about a crucial character’s demise, it ends up becoming a dispensable drag. Even the humour part sees a major setback. With literally few races to hold the story up taut, it becomes more of a setup to reach its unpredictable end. Anyhow, there are gorgeous lessons inscribed in it that makes the flick a thoughtful creation.

Lessons to Take from Cars 3 Movie (Spoilers)

The screenplay of Cars 3 movie has been beautifully written. There are some great bits that will straighten up your ears. There is so much to take from the movie that it makes you once again hopeful for life.

You can’t turn back the clock, kid. But you can wind it up again.

The time when Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo) breaks it to Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) about her dream to become a racer was one of the best parts of the flick. She tells him that it was her nervousness and self-dubitation on finding herself huddled up against the likes of great racers, that took her away from her dream. When she asks McQueen how did he handle it, McQueen replies:

I never thought I couldn’t.

There wasn’t even a morsel of self-doubt in McQueen, and that’s why he never failed in life. He used to be nothing but an embodiment of confidence, and his decisive nature and undoubting acts helped him to win countless races.

still from cars 3 movie

The Fuel of Confidence

If you think about it, that’s how life works too. The absence of self-doubt and fidgeting will get you there where you wish to be. If there is even a hint of trepidation in your thoughts, you will end up not doing good at whatever you are pursuing. Be confident, sure of what you are doing and you will succeed every time!

Don’t ever think about whether you could make it, just know that you were made for it. You are a paragon of power, that’s how you were made! You will never fail if you don’t doubt yourself.

I decide when I am done.

But then McQueen experiences failure and self-doubt in the form of a patronizing Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer) who shows him the ugly side of life. McQueen realizes that he isn’t good enough on the tracks and that no matter how hard he tried his speed was never up to the mark. We find him being surrounded by a cloud of uncertainty. And that continuously stays with him even when he was training alongside Cruz.

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The Selflessness

Then there was that big unselfish act in the end that makes you revere McQueen even more. On realizing Cruz’s true potential he gives her a chance to show her mettle and chooses to become what Doc was for him – a mentor. She proves herself by coming first in her first race, and that’s when you realize that every movie about your hero or legend retiring is about them seeing something in someone else, and letting them bear the torch.

Up until Cars 2, the franchise had always been about Lightning McQueen faltering and then rising up again to come over his fears to become the best all over again. It used to be all about McQueen and we just loved to see him bite on the attention too like all those heroes we look up to. But with Cars 3 movie that monotony was broken. It was a pleasant end something you really do not see coming. But McQueen gives you all the more reason to love him as he makes such an enormous sacrifice by letting Cruz have her chance at her dream.

It is so hard to do that because you constantly feel yourself to be the protagonist of your own life. When that bubble bursts for you and you see someone really worthy not getting his/her chance, it’s then you realize that everyone’s life is equally important. That feeling of placing yourself second to make sure justice is served is the best feeling you could get. Cars 3 teaches us to be altruistic and forever be on the lookout for people in need. Help them get what they want if you have been blessed with enough fortune. Everyone deserves a fair shot at life!

still of lightning mcqueen and jackson storm in cars 3

The Final Verdict

Cars 3 is like a phase that every human must go through once in their life. Just like we saw Old Man Logan resting his claws this year, it seems quite fair that every legacy must come to an end. Your prime always finds a calm at one point, and no matter how disheartening it might sound to you, with technology and the posterity taking over, it is one ugly truth that every person must come to terms with.

With the movie trundling down to McQueen’s retirement, (we aren’t really sure as the end alludes that McQueen is going to keep on racing), somewhere deep down we know this that this franchise must rest its bumpers. I think it has been making a fair point all this time with McQueen’s retirement plans to retire a legend. We have milked this franchise enough and it is time for Pixar to start focusing on other projects.

You can check out the trailer of Cars 3 here:

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review (2017) | Entertaining as Ever

Whoever said one is enough. In a world of sequels, prequels and spinoffs, where more is considered to be better, Despicable Me 3 movie storms in like a flick that has still got some juice left. Well, who knew it really had! There are still plenty of things to milk, even though there was supposed to be a happy ending after every part. Plots are layered up deliberately to build something new and tacky, and boy has it worked every time. Luckily even this time it didn’t disappoint.

With a far-fetched plot to introduce Gru’s twin brother Dru into the flick, Despicable Me 3 movie might have seemed a tad absurd from the trailers. But it turns out the movie is quite fun actually. It packs in ample humour if not matching the levels of its predecessors, gives every important character quite a good amount of screentime, making the minions hilarious as ever and builds up a great exciting villain from scratch.

At times you feel the Despicable Me 3 movie drag a little, scrounging for every bit of story it could get, and there are countless occasions wherein you feel the dearth of humour badly. But it manages to hold tightly somehow owing to its calm sense of storytelling. It retains ample focus, constantly letting that smile stay on your face.

Despicable Me 3 Movie Plot (Spoilers Ahead)

For the plot here we have Gru (Steve Carrell) being kicked out from AVL (Anti-Villain League) along with his wife Lucy (Kristen Wiig) for being unable to capture Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker)even though he manages to save the world’s most expensive diamond. With no jobs to support the family and reluctance to return to villainy, the Minions leave Gru.

Gru comes to discover that he has a twin brother named Dru. He and his family are summoned by Dru for a visit. Despite starting off on a wrong foot he comes to adore Dru for trying to flicker that spark of villainy in him. Lucy is having a hard time being a mother, trying to get on the good side of the kids. Agnes, this time voiced by Nev Scharrel, is obsessed with finding a real unicorn. She finds a one-horned goat slapping that title on it, and loving it profusely even though Gru breaks it to her that unicorns aren’t real.

gru and dru in despicable me 3 movie

Meanwhile, Bratt steals the diamond back, and is on his way to execute his master plan of creating a monster sized version of him to destroy the city and make a major chunk of it fly. Also, as a side-plot, minions get arrested for trespassing from where they escape missing Gru terribly. After which, evil geniuses as they are, make an escape plan to reunite with him.

The Mission to Mess with Bratt

Gru and Dru get on a mission to bring the diamond back from Bratt as Dru beseeches him to teach villainy since it was in their blood. Gru agrees to it only secretly wishing to take the diamond back to AVL to get his and Lucy’s jobs back. They infiltrate Bratt’s den and somehow manage to get the diamond with the help of Lucy leaving Bratt in a sticky situation.

On returning and after saying final goodbyes, taking the diamond away from Dru, having a minor spat with him for not leaving the diamond as a trophy, Gru and his family are all ready to board the plane. That’s when Bratt shows up disguised as Lucy and steals the kids and the diamond along with him.

He progresses with his plan to bring utter carnage by getting into his monster robot version and leaving the kids on a building’s parapet. Gru reconciles with Dru and along with Lucy arrive to save the city. They meet minions on the way who begin following Gru.

Lucy saves the children while Dru internally damages the giant monster robot. Gru involves himself in a “dance fight” with Bratt defeating him eventually as minions explode the giant bubble gums (the weapon of Bratt) to save the city.

still of gru with the diamond in despicable me 3 movie

With diamond restored and Bratt captured, Gru and Lucy get their jobs back. The latter gets acknowledged as mother by the children which elates her beyond limit. Minions find a new villainous leader in Dru as they slink out at night to wreak some wicked havoc.

The Proper Flow

The beauty of Despicable Me 3 movie lies in its proper flow of events. Everything happens for a reason and everything has a natural order to it and they were bound to happen. There is ample focus in the frames, and things are less cartoonish than they used to be in other movies of Illumination Entertainment.

It doesn’t forget the minions even though they revolt and aren’t with the primary storyline of the movie. Directors Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin and Eric Guillon still find a way to include them by giving them a funny plot to chase. We have a new revolting minion named Mel who is introduced brilliantly into the tale.

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There are important things you can take from the movie too. Gru’s incapability to break a hopeful Agnes’s heart when he wished to tell her about the unicorn’s existence, and then breaking it to her anyway when the chips were down, and Agnes’s acceptance to focus on the good things, her optimistic nature have been beautifully inserted. She is very thoughtful in trying to help Gru by selling her toys to make the difference.

Then there was Lucy’s motherhood, her trying really hard to get on the good side of strangers for children, and eventually getting the respect she deserves by taking a stand against those who tried to harm the kids are well thought of.

The Final Verdict

Illumination Entertainment has been now paying attention to the bridges that were missing from a lot of its previous projects. Despicable Me 3 movie is quite an entertainer. It scores a little bit less in terms of humour but yes its very relatable. You will thoroughly enjoy it.

Check out the trailer of Despicable Me 3 movie here:

 

A Death in the Gunj Review (2017) | Diary of the Neglected

Konkana Sen Sharma’s debut A Death in the Gunj is a beautiful take of the neglected. It is so realistic and uncontrived that it makes you wonder why Konkana didn’t pick up direction in the first place. There was a director in her all this time, and it is so darn good that it instantly places her amongst the elite.

A Death in the Gunj also gives us an opportunity to see the very talented Late Om Puri onscreen once again. His acting is so relatable that it makes you miss him even more, now that he is gone. To constitute the primal plot of the movie, we have a family trying to spend a week’s holiday at their parent’s in a small town in Jharkhand. The backdrop is set in the year 1979 and Konkana Sen does a fine job to bring that period feel to it.

Direction of A Death in the Gunj

Whilst the Indian Film Industry is abounding with bad directors, it is going through a hopeful change. People are getting more focused towards making serious movies, and the educated audience has been responding well too. There are talented budding young directors showing up every month or so, who have their eyes set on parallel cinema to helm really good movies, and they are doing a fine job at that too. With people like Konkana Sen Sharma, that hope further solidifies making us cocksure of this revolution.

She started her career as an actor, which gives her an upper hand to witness story building up close. I am so glad that she has taken up all the good things. Her direction literally screams about her genius. She is outright brilliant for a feature film debutant. Her frames roll with a purpose, and she doesn’t omit the essential minutia worth capturing. Few minutes in her movie and you can feel the beautiful direction literally oozing out.

Konkana pays apt attention to the build up, giving us a proper insight into the story, introduces the main plot gradually unfurling it just how it is supposed to be. I think she needs to keep on directing. She is going to become a great director.

Plot of A Death in the Gunj Movie (Spoilers Ahead)

Death in the Gunj starts with a prologue of two people recklessly and unfeelingly talking about a dead body, so we know there’s a murder on the cards. It builds up its fair amount of suspense as it lets us introduce ourselves with the characters first.

It is a family who is visiting their parent’s Anupama Bakshi (Tanuja Mukherjee) and O.P. Bakshi (Om Puri) to spend their holidays. We have Gulshan Devaiah as Nandu who is the angry guy calling shots, Tillotama Shome playing his wife, Kalki Koechlin as Mimi and a litte one Tani played by Arya SharmaVikrant Massey plays the young protagonist Shutu as the cousin of Nandu. We also have Jim Sarbh playing Brian and Ranvir Shorey playing Vikram as Nandu’s two childhood friends.

vikrant massey in a death in the gunj movie

Shutu is always the butt of the joke, being younger, gullible and vulnerable. He is pranked upon, scolded and scorned by everyone. What the family forgets is his tendency to feel unloved in a place that is smothering him every second. And all of that begins to take shape owing to just one week of family time.

Shutu’s Mindset

Shutu is still trying to get over his dead father, wearing his father’s sweater all the time, crying himself to sleep. His pitiable emotional state is considered as a childish behaviour by Nandu who frowns upon him all the time. At one point he even hits him while teaching him how to drive.

Tani being the youngest is the only company he enjoys. They spend time together trying to pass time in a place that doesn’t have anything for entertainment. Shutu is constantly condescended by Vikram and Nandu who never miss out the opportunity to boss him around.

He has lied about his results to Anupama, who goes on to figure it out through a mail from Shutu’s mother. Shutu wishes to be away from home, and is going through a real hard time. But to fuel that fire we have this family constantly nagging him into doing things.

Mimi is in love with Vikram who is now married. She tries to rekindle the spark but fails to do that ending up drunk one night, and then having sex with Shutu playing him as a rebound guy. Shutu, too young to understand the situation, ends up falling for her hoping to continue the fling. He is rejected in an abject sense of disregard.

The Lost Soul

With hopes to win Mimi, he ends up overlooking Tani at one point. Tani becomes furious and ends up getting lost somehow. As Nandu and Shutu go into the woods to locate Tani, Shutu becomes a victim to a trap. Nandu ends up driving away leaving Shutu in a pit without even bothering to check for him.

Spending hours in the pit in the precarious woods, Shutu is discovered by their servant who then helps him out. On returning Shutu realizes Tani has been found and on seeing everybody on the dining table unbothered by his plight, it hurts him a lot. He goes to apologize to Tani, the only person he cared about in the whole house, but she refuses to talk to him as well.

Shutu realizes nobody cares about him. He feels like a neglected soul, constantly being hammered by the family, pushed around to get their own job done. Owing to all this neglectful buildup, he ends up taking his own life. It is hands down one of the saddest bits in the flick.

Evoking Pathos

A Death in the Gunj compels you to relate to the character. It evokes a sense of poignancy. It will have you thinking for hours about the neglect Shutu faces all along. And it isn’t just one person to blame for that, but the entire family. Sometimes we get so lost in our lives that we forget to pay attention to the people who need it the most.

The height is when in an attempt to find Tani the family forgets entirely about Shutu. His encounter with a wolf, the very paragon of death itself who chooses to leave him alone (nobody kicks a dead dog), is so beautifully captured that you feel like showering all the love to the poor fellow. And when he returns nobody bothers to even ask where he was, and in what perilous fate he had found himself in. They were busy dining forgetting him unknowingly.

shutu in a death in the gunj movie

It is just downright terrible what humans could do by simply being themselves.

There is one remark by Tani who is busy reading names on their family tree and wonders why Shutu’s name is not there. I loved how in the end Konkana decided to let his blood paint that same tree as if finally Shutu too makes it there by being dead.

Minor Issues

A Death in the Gunj has this strange thrilling vibe to it that belies its original theme. For a second the movie has you duped into believing that it is a semi-horror flick. But you realize that it isn’t what it tries to sell through the trailers. It is something more entirely.

If the writers were keen on hiding whose death we were going to see in the end, I think it became quite clear in the prologue itself. While some couldn’t guess it by the vague frames, it was easy for the rest to crack the code. The sense of neglect Shutu faces even when he was sitting in the car, gave it away that he was nothing but a ghost sitting behind, looking at his drivers and wondering how could be a person still be so arrogant and neglectful towards him even after death.

The Final Verdict

I think A Death in the Gunj is a profound gem that needs to be celebrated. All of the characters in the movie did a fabulous job playing their roles with conviction. You can’t even sense a teensy flaw in their acting. They are absolutely natural in their ways.

The movie is really deep for a thriller and shouldn’t be placed in that genre, I feel. It keeps you constantly rooted, lets you enjoy all the family letting you relate to its characters. The movie also becomes successful in making you feel extremely sorry for its protagonist for ending up in such colossal sense of abandonment.

It makes you question your actions and tries to make a bold point of keeping your eyes open for people who need your love. Every soul needs your attention and you shouldn’t get so much lost in your life that you forget to notice fragile living beings around.

Konkana Sen Sharma has proven herself to be extraordinary with the camera. I hope we get to see more of her films in the long run.

Check out our other Indian Cinema Reviews too.

Check out the trailer of A Death in the Gunj here:

The Mummy Movie Review (2017) | Dark Universe’s First is a Misfire

Dark Universe’s The Mummy movie is Universal’s epic fail. For most parts, it is scrounging for a plot, galloping forward with an out of focus story, at the same time trying to delve into an impending universe. It doesn’t retain the magic the original Mummy had. Neither does it have the power to sustain on its own, nor does it carry any chemistry to even let you feel anything for its characters. With this unpredictable tumble, the fate of the rest of the movies lined up for production has suddenly become uncertain.

While everyone is busy trying to get on the bandwagon of Universes following Marvel‘s footsteps, why would Universal be left behind? And so they decided to revive that old ghastly universe with characters like Dracula, Frankenstein, Invisible Man, Jekyll-Hyde, Wolfman and every other literary character that were better off being a fantastical story than being spoiled with a cheap shot at motion picture.

They bagged good actors, nay great ones, and things seemed to be going fine for them, with their website and everything, except they didn’t think the story through. How do you introduce characters into the universe? They didn’t make DC’s mistake of shoehorning every character into just one movie. And yet they failed big time. So what really went wrong?

Plot of The Mummy Movie

It wouldn’t be wrong to take a dig at their storytelling style and focus. Because it really sucked. To kickstart the events of The Mummy movie we are shown some Templars trying to hide a large ruby in a tomb of one of their own. The same knight’s tomb is discovered in the present day by a mysterious figure, who supersedes every authority.

Then a flashback starts showing us glimpses from the past about a princess named Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella). She was going to be the ruler when she was stripped of her birthright because his father’s second wife gave birth to a son. She makes a deal with the devil allowing the Egyptian God Set to enter into a special dagger. Ahmanet goes rogue on her family slaying them all and tries to bring Set to life by sacrificing her lover. But she gets caught and is mummified for eternity inside a sarcophagus.

Depicting the events of the present world again, we have Tom Cruise cruising down alongside Jake Johnson in their Nick Morton and Chris Vail avatars trying to fight off insurgents in Iraq. I was really looking forward to that bit, but it was as terse as it was in the trailers. I thought they were going to show how they ended up being sitting ducks, but the director Alex Kurtzman had other plans. (Was he running out of time already?)

Ahmanet’s Ruin

In comes archaeologist Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) who makes an entry planting a slap on Nick’s face. They clearly had a past. I wanted to see that too, but Alex skipped ahead. They come to discover a tomb (just the three of them) and Nick, the smartass he was, decides to shoot the ropes that seemed to be clearly keeping something down. Ahmanet’s coffin surfaces, and suddenly Nick becomes the chosen one. He begins to see visions thereafter.

Tom Cruise as Nick in The Mummy Movie

Colonel Greenway (Courtney B. Vance) and his crew take the sarcophagus up on a plane where Vail starts behaving strangely. He was infected by a spider in the tomb and ends up killing Greenway and attacking others. Nick shoots him down. But their plane gets attacked by countless crows as they crash. However, before dying Nick saves Jenny by giving her a parachute in the ‘nick’ of time.

Nick wakes up in the morgue. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaat?) I think we saw that part in the trailers too so digesting that wasn’t that hard. But he could now see Vail’s ghost too who is talking to him with his intact sense of humour. Vail tells him about Ahmanet’s intention to use Nick as a body vessel to let Set free into him.

Unleashing Chaos

At the crash site, Ahmanet is now back in her mummy form busy sucking life out of rescue workers to regain her strength. With her powers, she coaxes Nick into seeing him in a church, where the dagger is. But the dagger wouldn’t work without the red ruby atop. While trying to attack Nick andJenny, Ahmanet is interposed and subdued by a group of soldiers who take her down to a secret place. We find about Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe) then the mysterious man we had seen earlier, who claims to be the leader of Prodigium a secret society aimed at keeping supernatural threats in check. Jekyll reveals his intent of letting Ahmanet possess Nick so as to let Set out. He wanted to kill him then so as to rid the world of evil.

As Ahmanet overpowers a technician to escape, Jekyll ends up becoming Hyde (I was really looking forward to him turning into a monster but I was really disappointed to see him stay the same size) and attacks Nick. Nick subjugates Hyde with the serum he used to use to control himself from becoming his alter ego. Ahmanet escapes breaking all hell loose on the city. She manages to grab hold of the ruby too by summoning her army of mummies. With that, she had everything she needed to summon Set, except Nick’s body.

You can order The Mummy from here:

The Final Clash

She lures Nick by drowning Jenny, and slaps her (yes twice and really hard too!) into making him bow down to her. Nick steals the dagger and stabs himself letting Set enter his body. (So she was already going to stab him with the dagger, and he chose to do that himself. Hmmmm…interesting.) However, the tables turn when Nick sees Jenny’s body. He becomes furious and sucks the life out of Ahmanet. He then revives Jenny back to life. (Oh! stop) Then he revives Vail back (Oh! stop already!) and proceeds to seek more adventure.

Other Issues

There isn’t just one thing wrong with the movie and you know it. That resuscitating angle where Nick wakes up in a morgue without a scratch after crashing head-on to the ground, I mean how did they even find his body? He should have been blown to smithereens. You could argue that it was Ahmanet Wolverinizing him, but that’s just as pathetic as it sounds.

The Mummy movie delves into horror more than it should have. You are mid-way and you are thinking if you bought the right tickets.

Then a big downer was Hyde, who I thought would turn out to be some kind of Hulk, but that would have been even more cliched. However, somehow their decision to show him as a normal man, just powerful seemed like a right idea. But watching him turn like that just didn’t fit the bill.

What were they thinking, closing the door and isolating Hyde? If Nick wouldn’t have got accidentally trapped, who would have turned him into Jekyll again? Were they planning on sitting it out? Weren’t they prepared for this kind of aberration? Too hard to digest.

Russell Crowe as Dr. Jekyll and Hyde in The Mummy movie

Not Addressing the Obvious

To stop Ahmanet after finding out her true power, there were just four soldiers guarding the gate. I mean really? You should have sent an army, to stop her from reaching the ruby.

And when the final showdown between Nick and Ahmanet is happening why does she order her minions to go to dust. Why couldn’t the boss fight be made better with other mummies attacking Nick too? I would have loved to see Nick struggle through all those mummies to reach the boss.

There’s no element of surprise when Nick kills his first mummy. Did he already know that’s how they were supposed to go down? Had it something to do with him watching the original movie Mummy and being prepared beforehand?

The Mummy movie seems to be running towards something. It would have really helped if they sat down for a while to understand what is going on. We couldn’t see any real acting, but unfeeling people trying to escape or fight their way through.

The Final Verdict

The Mummy movie lacks focus, shoots a dud shot, tries to be horror and action, lacks chemistry, forgets all about drama and aspires to be a hit. Unfortunately, it has nothing of the sorts. It becomes successful in making you go nostalgic about the Stephen Sommers franchise which was something at least if not great.

The plan to whip a universe out of dark characters has failed miserably. I wonder what Universal is thinking right now.

Check out the trailer of The Mummy Movie here:

 

Hindi Medium Review (2017) | A Satire on India’s Education System

Hindi Medium is a satire on India’s current education system. While there are people who are against reservation system and wish to eradicate it completely, there are some who clearly think otherwise. Even though it’s a topic debatable, that’s not supposed to be the actual theme of the movie. It is how the rich have been trampling down the poor by hogging on their bread.

Hindi Medium tries to show the rich in their own light of abomination and how detestable they become in doing so. But it ends up trundling down some unrealistic territories, that makes it gradually dwindle down by the end. Also, it fails to tend to a lot of other sub-plots that it just leaves open ended.

The Plot of Hindi Medium (Spoilers Ahead)

The movie lurches forward with some brilliant comedy and comic timing that comes straight from Irrfan Khan. who plays Raj Batra. He is a natural at it and you can see him not even try. While Saba Qamar, who plays Mita Batra, is chosen to be a nagging element steering her husband’s life into making rash decisions. Her obsession to live a life King Size plucks them out of their house and places them amongst the affluent. The high society is like a gaudy display of pretence where no one believes in the institution of letting lose. It is a biased picture of restrained people and it isn’t pretty.

still of Irrfan Khan and Saba Qamar from Hindi Medium movie

Then comes the question of their only child’s education. She wishes her the best the country has to offer, and so with hopes to put their daughter in a prestigious school starts their own charade of becoming something they are not. There are some blunt elements in the movie whom when you listen to, you are forced to say:

C’mon who talks like that?

Hindi Medium shows us the ugly picture of the hassle you have to put up with to get admission forms for your children. Long queues, delinquencies, and corruption, it is all in there. Not trying to fight it off and giving in just to make her wife happy, Raj is like a drum who beats himself.

Putting on a Mask

Finally, finding a way to admit their child via the government seats reserved for the destitute, and to prove to the scholastic reviewing detective, that the family were indeed poor and not rich, they start living in a dilapidated house surrounded by the poor.

Deepak Dobriyal plays the guy named Shyam Prakash who calls himself “traditionally destitute”, and just for a gag takes pride in it too. He has been typecasted and plugged in based on his humour and the way he pulls things up with his powerful acting. While all of it is intentionally kept fun and light, you can’t unsee how Saket uses subtle gimmicks to display the plight of the poor in India, and the difficulties they face on a daily basis.

Deepak, gullible as he was, buys into their lies, befriends them and helps them by being a true friend Raj never had. Raj and Mita score the admission but at the cost of Deepak’s very own child’s seat, which they then feel they were responsible for.

Feeling bad for Deepak and his family, Raj decides to take one final stand of trying to bring poor talented kids to light and to open the eyes of the corrupt, the rich and the insensitive. He eventually helps a government school to build itself up with a charitable donation, and then by winning her wife’s respect with his newly found sensitivity decides to admit their child to the same government school even though they had a seat in the elite.

There are a couple of great songs in the movie, for instance, Guru Randhawa’s Suit Suit.

You can order the Audio CD (OST) of Hindi Medium from here:

Stereotypical Society

Even though good and bad are on completely different pedestals, Saket Chaudhary the director of Hindi Medium assumes every opulent being to be in a similar light. The rich are bad is the one flashlight he throws unknowingly as he tries to portray his take on the high society. In doing so, he deliberately demarks a line of rich and poor, and maybe fuels it up a bit too. He must understand that there is no such thing as rich being bad or poor being good. The fact is there are good people and then there are the bad ones. The latter’s presence is what we can beat with morality education.

At one point the movie seems to be heading to so many secondary subplots but unfortunately, those end up being overlooked. For example, the presence of Mita’s old college friend Kabir played by Sanjay Suri who is just there for a simple favour. Then her being smitten with ostentatious display doesn’t get a closure. Her stomping on Raj’s carefree lifestyle, subjugating and adjusting him as she pleases still remains untended even though we find them reconciling in the end.

The screenplay of the flick isn’t intelligently written and characters seem to have created for the sake of the movie plot. That being said, contrivance is at its peak in the movie. You see through everything.

By the end, you feel a lot of unrealistic things popping up, and even though Saket chooses to keep it real by showing one or two men clapping to Raj’s speech, that part still ends up becoming a forced addition.

Nevertheless, fun remains the topmost priority at all times. The flick never misses out on cracking you up for the better half. You choose to forgive it because you stay thoroughly entertained.

The Final Verdict

Hindi Medium is quite entertaining when you choose to laugh at your own plight. It addresses some of those towering issues in India that hover around a child’s education. The flick also tries to go behind the camera to show you one typical example of a household which is willing to do anything to get a seat, so in short every parent ever. It is a mockery of the Indian government that chooses to keep its eyes closed and overlook impoverished inhabitable conditions of their schools.

It tends to be a tad biased on numerous occasions to help the story reach the right areas. Even though it scores great on comedy, it doesn’t score well in drama.

Whatever the case might be, I think Saket becomes successful in making his point. I hope it helps turn the tide.

You can check out other Irrfan Khan movie reviews on this site as well.

Check out the trailer of Hindi Medium movie:

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