Sam Anton's Trigger has a promising start. The film introduces us to an unlikely gang of ex-cops, terminated for choosing justice over the law. Led by Atharvaa's Prabhakaran, they set out on a mission to weed out the dirty cops in the department. By this time, I was certain that the film couldn't derail, especially when the roles are played by competent actors like Chinni Jayanth, Munishkanth, Nisha and Anbu Thasan. But, I couldn't have been more wrong.
The film goes out of its way to spoil whatever it had got right till then. New sub-plots keep piling up without essential emotions and detailing, only to end up with a series of generic reveals at the end. I guess director Sam must have planned these 'reveals' to be his final trump card. He holds them back till the last moment. The reveals had to work on a different level altogether. If only.
Trigger suffers from a dilemma of having to choose between being a fun actioner and a suspense drama that takes itself too seriously. One might argue saying that's how Tamil commercial cinema has always been. While the mashup of genres is par for the course, the genre shifts in Trigger are, for lack of a better word, jarring. The problem with Trigger is that it tries to be everywhere, everything, and all at once, without a single honest moment.
The evident effort and investment that has gone into the action sequences are clearly missing in the rest of the film. There is an interesting idea of parallel crimes, a hurried homage to Murali's 'Pottu Vaitha Oru Vatta Nila', and a powerful visual of the villain witnessing the commissioner's office on fire. But then, none of these is remotely fleshed out to give us more memorable moments.
In a way, Trigger feels like a spiritual sequel to the actor-director duo's previous outing, 100. Very similar to Sathya in the 2019 film, Prabha also ends up in a control room, but this time Atharvaa's role cleanses the filth within the system rather than taking down villains on the outside.
If a case can be made for any sequel, then Trigger could definitely have been the second instalment in the 100 franchise. We could have actually gained insights into the life of a cop who understands the power and importance of the control room. If only.
Even though Trigger doesn't have romantic numbers, the film has Tanya Ravichandran playing Atharvaa's romantic interest. The way their equation evolves in Trigger is probably a bigger mystery to solve than the ones in the film. Introduced as strangers-turned-acquaintances, they hardly have conversations about themselves, their friendship, or even their romance.
We are not even sure if they knew when they became couples from being strangers. Except for the comfort they share during a hug and a brief conversation following that, there are no pointers or clues to substantiate the evolution of their relationship.
Arun Pandian, in one of his better roles in recent times, looks convincing as a person losing himself to Alzheimer's. But the empathy for his plight would have been more pronounced if we saw more of the equation he used to share with his son before the symptoms kicked in. If only.
The convenient writing that ignores logic is the biggest deal breaker of Trigger. The kidnapping network that usually operates with a fool-proof protocol breaks its rules risking its cover to capture a random girl. The imprisoned villain walks in and out of jail like it is his private clubhouse. To top it all, the Alzheimer's condition of Arun Pandian's character is said to be acquired from a blow to his head.
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I liked the portions in Trigger where Atharvaa steps aside and gives the centre stage to Arun Pandian and Chinni Jayanth. Even though their heroic moment didn't quite hit the bulls-eye, they are definitely interesting ideas on paper. Trigger would have been the powerful entertainer it aspires to be if these characters were fleshed out well in a screenplay free of distractions. If only.
Cast: Atharvaa, Chinni Jayanth, Arun Pandian, Tanya Ravichandran
Director: Sam Anton
Ratings: 2 out of five stars
(This story originally appeared on Cinema Express)