I am a huge fan of science fiction films. I am also a huge fan of films that know their audience and spoonfeed them as much as needed. It is not reasonable to have more than 30 minutes of silence involving just primates right in the beginning of the film and expect tamil audience to completely comprehend it the first time they watch it. At the same time, it is also not reasonable to make something like 7aam Arivu and expect people to like it. Indru Netru Naalai found the perfect middle ground in-between recently. And now 24 also has joined the league. It is a good science fiction film with the right amount of spoonfeeding that won’t make any viewer feel too stupid or too smart.
The meticulous attention to detail is what caught me off guard in the templatized time travel script. It is quite evident that Vikram Kumar has put in excellent efforts to get everything right. Chekov’s gun was placed in the right places for most parts but was compromised for the sake of ‘entertainment’ in a few. And those scenes which were added to commercialise the script surprisingly did not spoil anything. This is the place where most filmmakes get it wrong. The middle-ground between commercial and non-commercial cinema. This is how you satisfy most categories of audience. Jigarthanda found that balance. Madras found that balance. All these films have simple top layer for people who come to the theater just to be entertained, and also a sub layer which can be easily missed if enough attention is not paid, for people who want to ponder more. This does not mean 24 is a super complex multi-layered screenplay. But it does have a cheesy romance and a simple, excellently explained in layman terms time travel plot for one group of audience, and a little more detailing for another.
The graphics is also relatively much better that what we have been forced to experience in the films lately. With most of the scenes involving CGI, there was a lot of chance for it to become boring or very much off the place but it blended in the scenes amazingly well. And a huge credit for that also goes to the cinematographer. I am no expert in this field, but I loved the symmetry in some of the wide angle shots. These shots can get messy if there are random things all over the screen. In the scenes in which the camera actually plays a role were handled with extreme care. And their efforts are also very much noticeable on screen.
Although a few songs felt a little out of place, I forgave everyone responsible for it when I heard the carnatic piece when Surya goes to Samantha’s village home. Two days after watching it, the music still lingers in my ears. The background music really was something else. I was planning to watch it another time just for the music but then realised that I don’t live near Varadharaja theater anymore and silently ignored the idea.
I used to be a huge fan of Samantha when she was still showing her actual face deep inside those multiple layers of white cement. She was never a great actor but she was a good heroine. And she has continued to be average in 24 as well. But Surya was exceptional. I’m so glad that filmmakers these days give so much importance in the characterisation of the antogonist which opens up a huge space for the actors to unleash their full potential. Hope this phenomenon continues and more good actors are chosen to play the bad guy.
Unlike this review, which has been a let down from the beginning, the film only let me down in its climax (or the lack of it). It was like a hydrogen bomb during deepavali which has a huge prelude but turns out to be nothing in the end. This doesn’t mean the prelude wasn’t good. Just that it feels complete only if the bomb actually fulfils its purpose. Everyone got a closure, all misfortunes were settled but the movie somehow still feels incomplete. I don’t have any unanswered questions but I feel that there were chances for more questions that could have been answered. But who cares about all these when there is nithya menen smiling on screen, even if for just a few minutes, right?