Review - The Stoneman Murders: plot with extra drama

wogma rating: The keen should rent; else TV (?)
quick review:

All the build-up is justified with an interesting result. Unfortunately, we get 2-3 extra minutes at each twist to predict the next move. And this mars what otherwise could have been a superb thriller.



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Wogma Review

An unsolved mystery in real life has so many potential climaxes. Our imagination is the only limitation. Writer-director Manish Gupta's imagination brings us his plausible solution to the unresolved case of the stoneman murders in the 80s and it's an interesting one too. Only that it has hiccups in the form of drama. That slight over-dramatization that gives the audience a couple minutes to think and makes the shocker twist into an "I knew it!" victory moment for them.

In general, every time a protagonist finds himself in a corner with very little room to escape it makes us want to root for him even harder. And you sense the claustrophobia when doors slowly start closing in on Sanjay (Kay Kay Menon). Fingers being pointed at him, an unhappy wife, a senior who might just be using him as a means to an end, a colleague who's out to get him, a junior who's not completely in-sync with him - all stars aligning themselves just right to make life miserable for him.

The writing is actually reasonably gripping. It has its twists, turns, and re-twists that fit into the short run-time. But it needs more meat for the other characters. The wife, the colleague - could have been delved more into. We are allowed nowhere close to the killer's psyche. Then again, that might not be the point of the movie. Also the language used is extremely inconsistent and distracting. A character who speaks Hindi with a very heavy Bombay dialect suddenly spouts a phrase in chaste Hindi.

Most of the dialogue delivery is left in Kay Kay's safe hands and usually that's a good thing. He starts out as his usual exceptional self. It's a delight to see his composure change from attentive-submissive when he's with his boss to bossy-smug when ordering around his subordinates. And then suddenly it gets weird. He delivers his lines in a staged way which I just couldn't associate with him - the distant look in the eyes while mouthing some really bad lines.

Rukhsar (Sanjay's wife) looks very out-of-place all through. Her attire - the way the cotton sari is draped and the way she's carrying it don't go together at all. Her character's sub-plot has no connection with the rest of the story. I have this creeping suspicion that she's here because she was the only one ready to shed her clothes for that one unnecessary scene and fit the budget!!

You'd think that it's a thriller and has given itself only 95 minutes so they'd be in a rush. But, na-ah...the camera takes its time to scan the room and the characters. Usually, I enjoy slow camerawork, it gives me time to soak in the atmosphere but here it is very random and rather directionless. Not to mention, the typical thriller-violin-shrieking in the background.

I'd have voted for a tighter screenplay. And since it's a short film in the first place, maybe a few minutes to delve into the psyche of the other characters would have made my experience more complete.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Loads and loads. A serial-killer is on the loose! And policemen who love beating up people are all-set to get him.
  • Language: Some lines with mention of sex and derogatory references to prostitutes.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: One low-end bar scene with prostitutes seeking work. And one scene with a woman undressing.

The Stoneman Murders - Movie Details

The Stoneman Murders - Trailer

Comments (1)

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@lost in confusion I'd think so, because I think I saw it playing on TV/Tata showcase or something.

ps. sorry for the delay in reply to this one, for some reason set-up for comments by e-mail isn't working, so I've missed quite a few comments on earlier films.

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