Director Anandakrishnan zooms in on a terrific subject in Metro. We read about chain-snatching all the time, but this is the first film to delve into the subject and make it a backdrop – the way, say, Udta Punjab tackles drugs. We see how gold moves through the black market. First, a guy on a bike stretches a hand out and rips the chain off a woman’s neck – but not just any woman. It’s better if she has her hair tied up – the snatching becomes cleaner. This level of journalistic inquiry isn’t usual, and it extends to how the chain is sold, what the people who buy the chain do with it… Metro opens our eyes to a nasty little ecosystem that thrives right under our nose. Arivazhagan (Shirish) is a writer for a magazine, though when we first see him, he’s using a hammer to pulp a man whose face he’s plastered with duct tape. Can a flashback be far away?
Soon, we learn about Arivazhagan’s loving middle-class family, which includes a brother Madhi (Sathya) who wants to break free from this middle-class-ness. He doesn’t just want a bike. He wants a KTM, which costs 1.5 lakhs. The story sets itself up. Metro is one of those films you wish was much better. The director stages some effective moments, and there’s a sense of unease throughout. A sense of commitment to the material too – this isn’t the kind of film that uses the gang’s hideout as the setting for a boozy item number. But the scenes lurch into one another, and the central conflict is weak – the primal emotions don’t burst through. The biggest problem, though, is the fatally ineffective cast. Bobby Simha plays the leader of a chain-snatching gang, and he’s laughable when issuing threats. As in Iraivi, he pays lip service to women, but with a twist. “Ladies naa God maadhiri.” [pause for effect] “Kudukkara dheivam.” And would you believe Sentrayan as a menacing action hero? Not for all the gold in the world.
- Udta Punjab = see here
- “Ladies naa God maadhiri. Kudukkara dheivam.” = Women are gods that keep giving.
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