“Thupparivalan”… An entertaining mystery, even if it engages the head more than the heart

Posted on September 14, 2017


Spoilers ahead…

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

The last time Mysskin made a movie with a big-name hero (Jeeva), we got the underwhelming Mugamoodi. Will the whelm-o-meter needle sink lower, now that our most idiosyncratic filmmaker has roped in a bigger-name hero (Vishal), who’s also the producer? All doubts are dispelled in the hero-introduction scene, a longish one, where we don’t even see his face. We just sense his presence, as he moves about, a body-camera rig strapped on him so that we see what he sees. It might be the best joke in Thupparivaalan (Detective), for the point of the narrative is that we don’t see what he sees. His mind races so fast, we are always ten steps behind. In other words, this may be a star vehicle, but it’s the director in the driver’s seat. Phew!

Hence the scene featuring seppuku. Hence the (assumed) name of an investigating officer: Stanley Kubrick. The hero’s name, meanwhile, is a throwback to classical literature: Kaniyan Poongundran. And from the world of pulp, we get more (assumed) names, derived from the writer Thamizhvanan and his famous detective-protagonist, Shankarlal. My favourite in joke was the cheeky cut from a painting (Vermeer’s The Milkmaid) to a real-life action (a maidservant pouring milk). A ballerina painting by Degas is also referenced. I haven’t figured out what it’s about, but I’ll bet there’s a story there as well.

Continued at the link above.

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Posted in: Cinema: Tamil