Asuravadham Review - A revenge thriller that scores high on atmospherics!!!
Sasikumar's recent outings have been a far cry from the type of movies that he was associated with at the start of his career 10 years back. Even a well made film like Kidaari seemed to have a checklist to ensure that every section of the audience was left satisfied. Asuravadham is a pleasant surprise in a way that it is a focssed film by director Maruthupandian. He actually has a very simple tale to tell but the writing and execution are assured and extremely good.
Maruthupandian sets the ball rolling at the very start and we have a villain being pushed to a corner by the hero. The entire first half is a cat and mouse game between the two and the tension maintained is top notch. Big credit to composer Govind Menon and cinematographer S.R.Kathir. The hero might be having it a little easy in these parts and you could question as to how he achieves few things but the narration is gripping and you sort of enjoy this ride. The writing is very clever and tight and we understand a lot about the villain through a single scene involving a phone call with his father-in-law at the start. The actor playing this part is very good and is particularly impressive whenever he is in a mess. Sasikumar pulls back his smile and is quite good as the brooding hero with a sole agenda.
Towards the end as the flashback begins to unfold there is a little dip in interest because we assume what is going to happen. But there is a certain deviation here and what unfolds is a little more disturbing than what you had anticipated. I am refraining from using the term 'well made' here because of the horror that this episode implies but Maruthupandian definitely is that type of filmmaker who understands what needs to be shown and what not. The action sequences are terrific and the way they are shot ensure that they look plausible despite the 'one man vs the horde' scenario. The violence is justified and despite a certain disomfort, the actual gore shown on screen is less compared to the impact it has. But I do have reservations with the fact that the film was not being certified 'A', given the theme.
Maruthupandian keeps away a whole lot of things including romance and forced comedy. Hero glorification too is kept firmly in check. <mild spoiler alert> For instance, there is a scene and for a certain period that follows, it is implied that the hero might have been involved in a rape. We do know for sure that this is going to be taken back but the way it unfolds is impressive. It does not play with the holier-than-thou attitude that is thrusted on our heroes but passes quicky in a way that imparts a sense that this is how a normal guy would and should behave<mild spoiler alert>.
A little dip in the second half and few questions on the plausibility of few scenes that arise in our minds as an afterthought are the minor issues that I had with this well made film.
A tight and competent revenge thriller that is on the mark for the most part. Special mention about the grim mood and the consistent eerie atmosphere that we are rarely exposed to in Tamil cinema.