Michael review: Sundeep Kishan’s most ambitious film is a gutsy attempt
Michael movie review: Sundeep Kishan, Gautham Menon and Vijay Sethupathi's film has a great casting choice which makes it a great bigscreen experience.
Ranjith Jeyakodi’s Michael has to be the one of the best visually striking films in recent years. This is a statement that the film truly deserves and if you’re someone with a basic understanding of cinematography, every frame feels no less than a painting. This is a massively mounted action-drama that’s undoubtedly ambitious on all fronts but what it lacks is a story that can keep you invested right till the end. Even with the big twist in the end, you wish the payoff had come much earlier.
The film opens with a young Michael (Sundeep Kishan) arriving in Mumbai with a hunger for revenge. We get to know about Michael and his rise through the voiceover of a crucial character. Cut to a few scenes later, Michael aspires to be like Gurunath (Gautham Menon), a suave gangster who rules Mumbai. An opportunity presents itself when Michael risks his life to save Guru. Soon, Michael joins Guru’s gang and a few years later he becomes his most trusted guy who is quickly handed over the operations of Guru’s bars in North Mumbai. A few months later, Michael is sent on a mission to follow the daughter of Guru’s enemy and kill them both. As fate would have it, he falls in love with the girl, Theera (Divyansha Kaushik). Thanks to his actions, Michael earns the wrath of Guru and things soon turn bitter between them.
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Michael spends too much time in world-building and in making everything look exquisite. A lot of time is spent on justifying Michael’s anger but we’re never told the reason behind his thirst for revenge till the very end. By the time the reason is revealed, a lot of time is wasted in mindless action. As much as the action choreography deserves a lot of praise, it does get boring to watch after a point. It’s perfectly alright to make a violent film but when the violence lacks conviction and a strong emotional purpose, everything looks senseless. This is what happens with Michael for the most part and this is what lets the film down, despite being good in parts. Nevertheless, the film doesn’t shy away from being ambitious and it shows in Ranjith’s vision. Michael credits films like Nayagan, Deewar and John Wick as inspiration but it borrows heavily from KGF and even pays tribute to the Yash-starrer in a few scenes.
Sundeep Kishan is earnest from start to finish and he holds the film together with a very strong performance. He’s strongly complemented by Gautham Menon, who plays a gangster with effortless swagger. It’s a great casting choice and he isn’t your quintessential commercial cinema antagonist. Vijay Sethupathi has a special appearance but he still manages to shine in the few scenes he gets. Apart from the visuals, it’s Sam CS’s score that really elevates Michael and makes it a big screen experience worth cherishing.
Director: Ranjith Jeyakodi
Cast: Sundeep Kishan, Divyansha Kaushik, Gautham Vasudev Menon, Varun Sandesh, Vijay Sethupathi and Varalaxmi Sarath Kumar