'Antony' review: This technically strong film needed better writing

The film, promoted as India’s first claustrophobic suspense thriller, is brought down by the forced infusion of the suspense elements.

Published: 01st June 2018 11:01 PM  |   Last Updated: 02nd June 2018 06:42 AM   |  A+A-

A still from Antony.

Express News Service

Antony

Director: Kuttii Kumar

Cast: Lal, Nishanth, Vaishali, Rekha

Rating: 2 stars

What would you do if you got trapped inside a car that’s buried six feet under the ground? Faint in fear? Break into tears? Become mad? Let’s add some spice to the proceedings and assume you’re a cop, and an exceptionally skilled one at that. What then? Try to stay focussed, use your cop smarts and survival skills to get out? Nuh-uh, not so fast, if you’re the protagonist of Antony.

The eponymous lead, Antony (Nishanth), for some weird reason, spends much time trying to figure out how he landed up there, tries to come up with a list of foes who might have plotted to get him into this debacle, and makes death threats at the top of his voice. These logical flaws are some of the many problems that pull down this technically lovely film that, if written better, could have ushered in a new genre in our cinema.

Antony is an honest sub-inspector who has managed to create enemies all over the town, on account of his upright nature. He has plans to secretly marry his girlfriend Maha (Vaishali) with the support of his ex-cop dad, George (Lal). On the day of the wedding, Antony goes missing and George sets out on a mission to find his son with the aid of his middle-aged friends. Meanwhile, Antony finds himself trapped inside a buried car with a limited supply of air, water, and hope.

A hero getting trapped inside a confined space isn’t an entirely new idea in our cinema. Films like Dosth (2001) and Vaathiyar (2006), had scenes where the protagonist is buried alive by the villain. While those films showed the hero using unintentionally hilarious means of escape (Sarath Kumar uses a gunshot to open the coffin’s lock in the former, while Arjun goes a step ahead and breaks the casket with his bare hands similar to Kill Bill!), Antony partially succeeds in engaging the audience for most of the film with its realistic presentation and the natural performance of the protagonist.

The film, promoted as India’s first claustrophobic suspense thriller, is brought down by the forced infusion of the suspense elements. Classic claustrophobic films like Rodrigo Cortés’ Buried and Vikramaditya Motwane’s Trapped are effective because the focus is firmly on the lone victim, which subconsciously connects us to the character’s emotions, grief and agony. But in Antony, the picturesque parallel track involving George gives us a wide breathing space, and at no point in the film do we actually get to feel the pain of being trapped.

Antony could have been a lot more hard-hitting with a more effective storyline. George mouthing ironical dialogues like “En paiyan enga nu sollala na unna uyiroda podhachiduven da!” evokes some unintentional laughter. Though the  background music of the teenage composer Sivathmika does elevate several scenes, the songs, with the exception of Adangadha Maa Malai, all fall flat.

Though cinematographer R Balaji’s framing is aesthetically pleasing, the incessant slow-motion shots in the latter half make it a tad monotonous. The final reveal of the film and the sluggishly shot sequence preceding that make us wonder what the whole point of all the protagonist’s struggle was, in the first place.

Almost all characters keep talking in loud asides. And as the end credits roll, I wish some onscreen character had quipped, “Director sir, idhu dhaan nijamaave climax-a?”

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