If you want proof that cinema from India can surprise you, this movie should take care of that fast.
Director Anurag Kashyap brings us into the violent world of Psycho Raman. Mumbai has its charm despite its poverty and its apparent corruption. In here, Raman survives to do what he does worst… He kills with a blow of his tire iron. There’s no redeeming quality to him as he walks into his sister’s life to extort, break and kill without remorse. Without gender nor age ever being a consideration, this killer attacks are brutal without them being visually showns. We see the strike, the swing as the iron comes down. We don’t get to see the actual blow. Other than side glances and blood on the floor, we’re never given gore.
But the implied violence is plenty. Hindi cinema has never been this cruel. Yet I can’t seem to see this movie as dark. The maze of houses in the slum is the perfect hiding place. And very soon, Raman (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) has found a target. Not a target he wants to kill, but one that he wants to join. A corrupt cop, Raghav (Vicky Kaushal), gives no signs of knowing how dangerous his prey is. Raghav is an asshole, a misogynistic douche and a drug addict who picks up women at clubs. One of them, Simmy (Sobhita Dhulipala), is brave enough to show him that .
Breaking it down:
Highs: On point storytelling. We’re engaged with the character since the beginning. The run down poverty-stricken slums are a fitting setting for Raman’s hunting ground and Raghav’s corrupted deals. There’s no moralistic content in this Mumbai, it just is. Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays Raman with the right mix of insane and evil, without being too smart or too lucky but without falling in the usual ego tropes.
Lows: Don’t go in expecting a cheerful or moral tale.
Extremely recommended for movie viewers willing to put morality aside and enjoy good storytelling. Not for anybody expecting values or morals.
- Monday, July 18: Three (Hong Kong) / The Wailing (South Korea).
- Tuesday, July 19: The Lure (Poland).
- Wednesday, July 20: Lights Out (USA).
- Thursday, July 21: Harmony (Japan).
That will do for now.