“Kurangu Bommai”… A beautifully crafted tale of crime and collateral damage

Posted on September 4, 2017

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Spoilers ahead…

Read the full review on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/kurangu-bommai-movie-review

LLike Maangaram earlier this year, Nithilan Swaminathan’s Kurangu Bommai (Monkey Doll) comes with a caveat: you have to buy the coincidences. This film, too, is conceived as what has come to be known as “hyperlink cinema,” but you could just as easily call it “leap-of-faith cinema.” Viji (Delna Davis), in Chennai, walks into the exact same police station where Kathir (Vidharth), the man who slapped her father in Tanjore, happens to be handing over a stolen bag. This isn’t so much a screenplay as a carefully plotted diagram. But as in Maanagaram, the filmmaking is such a rush that this contrived, air-tight design totally takes a backseat. The director (also the writer) makes it so easy to strap yourself in for the ride.

Consider the opening scene, where a timber mill owner — Ekambaram (PL Thenappan, who creates a convincing villain without overplaying each snarl) — is on the phone with a man named Sekar (Elango Kumaravel). He’s chewing tobacco and spitting to a side, beyond the camera’s frame. But when the camera slowly pulls back, when the frame expands, we see where the spit is landing — and instantly, our estimation of the scene (and this man) changes. Or take the marvellous scene behind a police station where a gypsy couple is reporting the loss of their child. (It’s a fantastic story!) Again, the camera moves slightly, and we see where the cop is. (We expect him to be standing in front of them.) It’s a hoot.

The scene keeps building. We follow the cop and the gypsies as they head into the station, and a single-take shot (the superb cinematography is by NS Udhayakumar) leads to a finale that made my jaw drop. Let me just leave you with the image: a ceiling fan begins to sway like a pendulum. It’s the most memorable visual of the year — not because it’s pretty, but because it’s so unexpected, as surprising as the throwaway shot (inside a storeroom in the station) of a cat with newborn kittens.

Continued at the link above.

Copyright ©2017 Film Companion.

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Posted in: Cinema: Tamil