Jagame Thandhiram review – Good intention with stylish presentation but lacks the punch

Title: Jagame Thandhiram
Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewed By: Sai Nikhil
Cast: Dhanush, Joju George, James Cosmo, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Kalaiyarasan
Director: Karthik Subbaraj
Streaming on: Netflix
Language: Tamil

Story: Suruli (Dhanush), a Parotta master and small-time criminal in Madurai is hired by the leader of a criminal gang in London to carry out certain tasks. What were those tasks and what mess did Suruli end up in after this forms the story.

Performances: Dhanush’s look and swag as Suruli is good but it has not been completely utilised in the film. He has done his part well like always. Joju George is excellent in his role as Sivadoss. James Cosmo, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Kalaiyarasan and other supporting actors are good.

Technicalities: Shreyaas Krishna’s visuals are a big plus. Both Madurai and London have been captured beautifully. The camerawork in the climax was particularly very good. Santosh Narayanan’s music is good but sadly only one song appears in the film and all other chartbusters have been left out. Editing leaves room for questions. This film could have done with a shorter runtime. No idea why the director and editor went with a close to 160-minute runtime. The second half has several patience-testing moments and could have been easily trimmed. Dialogues are good and there is heavy usage of English dialogues which might have worked against the film if released theatricality. Action sequences are good and the entire climax sequence has been executed well.

Analysis: Karthik Subbaraj has taken up sensitive topics like racism and Sri Lankan Tamil refugees and has handled them well but could not weave them into the narrative in an effective way. The film constantly tries hard to do justice to it’s intention as well as be commercially appealing but it ends up being half-baked in that process. Dhanush’s introductory sequence, his face-off with Joju George and the climax are pure Karthik Subbaraj mark stuff and a feast for fans. Rest of the film is mostly flat with a few sparks here and there but no fireworks. There are some unexpected cliche moments in the film, a rarity from Karthik Subbaraj. The first half is never boring, thanks to the stylish vibe and the good actors present. The second half is on the slower side and definitely tests patience a bit. The one main problem in the film is the uneven writing. The flow of events is not smoothly done. For example, Dhanush moving from Madurai to London and his love track with Aishwarya Lekshmi are very sudden and forced and don’t register strongly. There are quite a few such moments, which are the reason behind the film lacking a strong emotional depth and the necessary punch.

On a whole: Jagame Thandhiram is mostly style over substance with a noble theme lost amidst it. Watchable if you like Dhanush and ready to sit through 160 minutes.

Rating: 2.5/5

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