wogma rating: Switch channels if it's on cable (?)
Long. Random. Violent. Pointless. Long therefore random. Violent therefore pointless. Oh, now I am rambling despite myself. Just like the film despite its well-written but absolutely unlikeable protagonist. Streaming partner: NetflixRead more
Mistake regretted: The rating was changed to " Switch channels if it's on cable" from "Watch if you have nothing better to do", Apologies ~ ~ ~ idée fixe—When I came across the phrase this morning, I knew I would be encountering it soon. You know in the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon way. I did not know I will encounter it as an onslaught within a couple of hours. An obsession, a fixation, a preoccupation. The director’s self-obsession. The protagonist, Ranvijay Singh’s (Ranbir Kapoor), unhealthy attachment to his concept of a dad. His passion for violence. All seemed like idée fixe, defined.
…wears its abnormality on its sleeve. This doesn’t scandalise me…a burst of wild ideas patched together without elegance.
The first indulgence is the film’s length. This is after giving the benefit of doubt that the makers needed to establish the son’s adulation for his father for the film to hold any water. 200+ minutes! I have often said that a film needs to justify every single minute that it runs over 100 minutes.
A lot of the 100 extra minutes seem to have been spent on tangents. And because it was such a long film, each tangent swells into a sub-plot. So much so that you wonder if the film is a father-son relationship, a romantic film, a revenge drama, or just trying to be one or all of the above when it actually exists only for the bloody action it wants to indulge in.
It is not that these genres cannot co-exist. In fact, they do come together nicely in well-made films. Animal, though, makes each one feel like an after-thought to the other.
We want to tell a story about a man who is single-mindedly in love with violence.
But, why is he violent?
Because he loves every one so much.
But, love cannot make a person violent.
Enter villain A.
But hey, this villain we have created is boring.
Let’s add a romantic track.
But he can only be a crazy passionate lover because you know, first love is violence.
Oh wait, but we already did that in that other film.
Okay, we will give him a progressive side this time. You know let us have him be there for the birth of his own child. eyeroll
But wait, it is a man’s world.
Fine, we will just make it feel like he is progressive. When push comes to shove, he will shove feminism aside.
But, wait we still need an angle.
No problem, let’s do a few more villains. Villian B…Villian C?…not enough? Villain D.
Okay, this is enough. Why? We have run out of 200 minutes.
And I have reached the conclusion that the makers were not interested in story-telling. They wanted an excuse to showcase gut-wrenching violence. Only wish they had done it well. The rest is a weird world created around this violence where people make love in planes while it is in the air. Oh, did I mention they are the only two in it? “Oh dear!” you say, “what if it flew into something.” Nonsensical worries you have. They just get up to avert the accidents.
I don’t like getting this way about films. It doesn’t bring me joy. That is when I go looking for the little sparks that made me feel good about being in the theatre. The first one of course is the performance. All round, we have absolutely excellent performances. This is one powerful show by Ranbir Kapoor.
Except for one scene, the spotlight never leaves him. And his talent is highlighted because he becomes a perfect muted side-dish in a scene that is made for Rashmika Mandanna to chew it to the marrow. For a loud action film, the rest of the cast too is remarkably restrained and don’t deliver a line out of place or have an expression that doesn’t belong.
Animal makes each one of its sub-genres feel like an after-thought to the other.
Other than the performances though, I found a spark in another spot. It was surprising enough to find another ray of light, but I also found it where I didn’t expect it—Ranvijay’s relationship with his wife, Geetanjali (Rashmika Mandanna) is written. No-no, the relationship is toxic. And makes me puke. But, we see some dialogue between them that brings some semblance of reality. A chat like a couple would have in normal life.
Otherwise, this is one weird world of guns, Indian couples kissing in front of the family the first time they tell the family about their intent, men walking around their house butt naked, and so on. And it wears its abnormality on its sleeve. This doesn’t scandalise me. It just doesn’t flow seamlessly. It feels like a burst of wild ideas patched together without elegance.
Violence, extreme violence has been presented aesthetically. Especially the kind that is set to an unexpected background score that has the potential to give the violence a quirky touch-up. Here, there is a half-successful attempt at it. The score is catchy because of how different it is and entertaining because it plays out in a half-decent fashion. But, then the novelty wears out. One, because it goes on for too long. And two, because it repeats. Why does it repeat? I assume because of the fixation.
Maybe it is the overwhelming personality of the protagonist that makes the film come across as obstinate. Incapable of changing. Like a missile darting towards its target, unable to change its path. Unfortunately, its target is our mindspace…and our time. Oh so much time!
- meeta, a part of the audience
Thumbs up, by Smrity Sharma, Bollywood Life : ...Watch Animal for Ranbir Kapoor. He doesn't let you down in even one frame. If you are a hard-core action movie fan, Animal has enough and more to keep you hooked to the screen. The story is engaging and though, long, the performances and the novelty in Ranbir and Bobby's characters make it worthwhile.... full review
Thumbs up, by Murtuza Iqbal, Filmi Beat : ...Overall, Animal is one of the most entertaining films of the year. Ranbir Kapoor has delivered a mind-blowing performance and it's a A Must Watch!... full review
Thumbs up, by Ganesh Aaglave, FirstPost : ...On the whole, Animal is an adrenaline experience which will have polarising views but you can’t deny its entertaining quotient, breathtaking performances and storytelling.... full review
Thumbs up, by Tulasi Neppali, fullhyd.com : ...Vanga's films can't help but be thinly-veiled PSAs that disseminate his personal takes on love and life. But in Animal, his agenda feels a bit too extreme - like provocation for the sake of provocation. A good half hour gets wasted away on Vanga's "let me tell you how to live your life" scenes that do nothing to move the story along. And the crucial theme of a toxic father-son relationship gets lost in the weeds, and punted down the line for a second part. Animal is a movie you'd either love to hate and be hated on for loving - and in the end, maybe that's just the sort of movie Vanga wants Animal to be.... full review
Thumbs up, by Nitin Jain, Glamsham.com : ...Overall, the wait for a film like Animal was worth each day. It sets itself apart from the crowd with its unique storyline, drama, action and everything in between. All the Ranbir Kapoor fans will be pleasantly surprised and may be take his style back home, which attracts some extra brownie points too.... full review
Thumbs up, by Sameer Ahire, Movie Talkies : ...Animal has some powerful action sequences. That 15-minute interval block will blow you away and set the single-screen audience on fire. First Dolby Walya and then Arjan Vailly take the scene to the next level. The “made in India” machine gun is what you call dinosaur-level thinking from the director.... full review
Thumbs up, by Krishma Sharma, Pinkvilla : ...Overall, Animal makes for a solid watch, that rides on a fast-paced first half and a decent second with Ranbir Kapoor delivering the performance of his lifetime. Animal certainly has enough moments to sail through with a big number at the box office on support of Youth & Masses, though families and women might stay away from it after the initial euphoria. Watch it for Ranbir Kapoor, Ranbir Kapoor, and Ranbir Kapoor, alongside the high octane fast-paced first half.... full review
Thumbs up, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...At three hours 21 minutes, Animal is relentless as a euphoric medley of feral rage and dance of the dysfunctional. The twists go on well until end credits as more blood is splattered our way.... full review
Thumbs up, by Puja Awasthi, The Week : ...Animal dangles the possibility of a sequel. And if it gets to that, make sure you stay off popcorn during the show. For the squeamish among us, it will taste of blood. That’s the gory power of this paisa vasool film, which requires more guts than rationale.... full review
So-So, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...The lengthy film is edited to spotlight verbal and physical violence. Acts of horrific aggression are insouciantly normalized only because…well,the director thinks it is fine for characters to slap, maim, bully, humiliate, torture and slay one another.... full review
So-So, by Abhimanyu Mathur, DNA : ...But regardless of all that, Animal is what I call a review-proof film. Those who want to watch it, will regardless of what people say. But to those interested, I have just one advice - don't go for messaging, go for entertainment, and you might be able to overlook everything problematic, and even all the blood.... full review
So-So, by Prathyyush Parasuraman, Film Companion : ...How, then, to react to the surface of this film? It is constantly playing games with you, toying with your perceptions, never letting anything sink its teeth. A restlessness clouds the film. That Vanga seems to have lost his strident voice chasing the effect his movies have on people. At this point there is very little distinguishing his directorial intentions from that of a troll.... full review
So-So, by Vijayalakshmi Narayanan, Free Press Journal : ...Animal had the potential for greater impact if the excesses were reduced, and more focus was placed on the narrative. The attempt to shock the audience with graphic depictions of throats and organs being sliced, like the lead hero is playing Fruit Ninja, dominates the film, leaving viewers craving a more substantial storyline. However, if you're a fan of the leading man, a trip to the nearest cinema screen might still be worthwhile.... full review
So-So, by Shruti Kaushal, India TV : ...Animal is Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s third film. A few bits of the film don’t make any sense and are lengthy for no reason. The never-ending action sequences are taxing. However, it is entertaining and leaves you intrigued for Animal Park.... full review
So-So, by Lekha Menon, Khaleej Times : ...So ladies and gentlemen, here is the final verdict. Animal has an important message. It tells women exactly what kind of men they should stay away from. Men, it tells you exactly what you should never be! It also has a lesson for parents. Never raise a child like Ranvijay. Or Kabir Singh.... full review
So-So, by Prakash KL, One india : ...Despite its flaws, 'Animal' still manages to offer a unique cinematic experience that might be worth a one-time watch. The film's climax redeems some of its shortcomings, leaving the audience with a lasting impression. Overall, 'Animal' may not hit as hard as 'Arjun Reddy', but it remains an alright option for those seeking something different in the realm of action dramas.... full review
So-So, by Nandini Ramnath, Scroll.in : ...If Animal didn’t have Ranbir Kapoor at the helm, it would have collapsed, like the men who dare cross Vijay’s path. Kapoor is on fire, inhabiting to a frightening degree Vijay’s delusional personal war. Reptile-eyed even at his smouldering best, Kapoor’s career-best performance makes Animal tough to stomach, but equally difficult to ignore.... full review
So-So, by Sonal Pandya, Times Now : ...Played a character with strong daddy issues yet again, the actor is a force to reckon with in Animal, and at times, he is practically vibrating with emotion in scenes in which he rallies to protect his family. The film entirely rests upon his electric and intense performance.... full review
So-So, by Renuka Vyavahare, Times of India : ...Ranbir Kapoor can be Joaquin Phoenix but Animal’s no Joker. This entire film could have just been a conversation between the father and his son.... full review
Thumbs down, by Pranati A S, Deccan Herald : ...Animal is nothing but a seven-course-meal of severe narcissism, autopilot plane sex, a post murder sex, a Rolls-Royce in the colour of hickeys, a mockery of menstruation, a lesson on pubic hair, a Made in India Atmanirbhar machine gun, bloodshed, gun...... full review
Thumbs down, by Rahul Desai, Film Companion : ...Oh, they’ll find this film vile huh? Well, love is vile, life is vile, film-making is vile, that’s the beauty of it. Oh, they’ll predict this will become a blockbuster anyway huh? Let’s give them a huge flo – wait, maybe they’re right.... full review
Thumbs down, by Anvita Singh, india today : ...The first half is engaging, primarily thanks to a very convincing Ranbir Kapoor, who manages to sell this toxic, annoying, irrational persona of Rannvijay very well. To think what he could have done with a better-written script! There is an apparent lack of female agency. Only Rashmika gets to say a few meaningful things in the feature, which is a definite step-up from Vanga's previous movies.... full review
Thumbs down, by umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...This is Sandeep Reddy Vanga going into the egomaniacal mode to make a movie that would take toxic masculinity to the other extreme end of Kabir Singh/Arjun Reddy. All this while, he wasn’t making a film. He was making a statement that he wants the world to read and decide if they wish to side with him.... full review
Thumbs down, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...One action scene has a whistled tune to go with it, another has a piece played on a string instrument. Music, unfortunately, is the last thing that Animal is likely to leave you with as you troop out of the theatre wondering what all the deadening din was about.... full review
Thumbs down, by Isha Sharma, NewsBytes : ...The larger problem lies with Reddy Vanga's fixation with downplaying women in his cinema. Unfortunately, people take inspiration and brand such protagonists as "alpha males," not knowing that art should be kept separate from real-life on occasion. Kabir Singh's repercussions are felt even today, and now, some social media accounts have already hailed Animal as "a slap to feminism." Our filmmakers should do better.... full review
Thumbs down, by Shilajit Mitra, The Hindu : ...Animal had the chance to claw out a fresh, psychology-driven path for Hindi action movies, at a juncture when it’s challenged (and frequently outstripped) by superior products from the South. The raw, lacerating violence that Vanga promised his critics, he hardly delivers. Like many before him, he seems more tempted by franchise potential than telling a controlled, coherent story. “Confidence is a medicine but...,” a doctor tries to tell Ranvijay. She can’t finish her sentence. He has already shut her off.... full review
Thumbs down, by Pratikshya Mishra, The Quint : ...Animal feels like it's designed to “trigger” people, not understanding that being able to view violence against someone on screen and not be affected by it in real life is a privilege. A privilege not many are afforded and it’s a privilege not many are willing to address. That is perhaps the one unsettling feeling Animal leaves you with.... full review
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