Omerta

wogma rating: Watch for sure, preferably in theatre (?)

quick review:

Omertà is a work of intense, sweeping and frightening moral clarity. Unerring, unflinching and unrelenting, the result is a devastatingly, seriously good film.

Read more
Director: Hansal Mehta
Running time: 96 minutes
More Movie Info

Omertà is a work of intense, sweeping and frightening moral clarity. Unerring, unflinching and unrelenting, the result is a devastatingly, seriously good film.

What this film never says but manages to show is how revenge sought against a wrongs committed in history is fundamentally unattainable

There are no false binaries in the victim - perpetrator mould, indeed the film takes no prisoners. It doesn’t offer sympathies to any one cohort and heavens forbid, there is no semblance of redemption.

Some of the most tragic conflicts in life embody both the inevitability experienced by those who are in it and the futility felt by those outside looking from afar, the distance, lending perspective. The film sets out and manages to convey this dynamic quite efficiently and effectively.

I haven’t seen an Indian film in a while with the amount of attention to detail as on this one, right down to nailing the correct version of windows on the computer vis-à-vis the period in which a scene plays out. In another chilling scene that manifests right in the aftermath of 9/11, the two sculptures in the back of the room, the manner of holding the newspaper and a lone patrolling body guard, visible off the corner of one eye are all the details you need to know what has changed in the geo-political narrative of the day.

Writing dialogues for a film such as this is often a thankless job for everything that can be said in these contexts has already been said not just via films but also nearly daily in the mainstream media. Even so, the writing is more than perfunctory; it is consistently sharp, sometimes sparkling and always, always economical.

The art direction comes alive in nearly every scene, whether it is the powder grey of South Hall in London, the riot of colours in the narrow bylanes of Karachi, the treacherous mountain ranges of Afghanistan or capturing the early - mid 90’s humdrum of old Delhi.

I was too young to gain a meaningful first hand understanding of George Bush beyond the uni-dimensional caricature portrayed in the eastern world when he was president. The dint of nostalgia and archival footage notwithstanding, here’s a man who began his condolences with ‘Laura and I’, eight full years before the deliberate and calculated dotting of i’s and crossing of t’s became Obama’s stock in trade. For what it’s worth, the remorse on display felt genuine too.

the writing is more than perfunctory; it is consistently sharp, sometimes sparkling and always, always economical.

Mediocre films tell and show. Good films show and tell. Great films show without telling. What this film never says but manages to show is how revenge sought against a wrongs committed in history is fundamentally unattainable, which explains why it never ends. It is a wild good chase unlike any other, the Frankenstein’s monster to beat all others.

Holds true for individuals, societies, religions, governments and all forms of life on the planet in general. We can never have enough of what we don’t want. So long as the cycle continues, there is only one form of hegemony, brutality and violence replaced with another form of hegemony and violence. The form and the content remains the same, only the actors change.

Mehta and Rao have combined to give two blazingly good films in Shahid and Aligarh. This one is a smashing culmination of a worthy, eclectic trilogy.

This review is by guest reviewer Yogesh Parmar. People lover. Founder - The game changers. behavioral scientist. cinema tragic. storyteller. performance arts aficionado. Yogesh Parmar also blogs at http://www.thegamechangers.co.in/.

25 reviewers(?) - 7 yays 16 so-so 2 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Anna MM Vertticad, annavetticadgoes2themovies : ...Besides, Omerta’s pace is so unrelenting and Rao’s acting so immersive that it is impossible to turn away from the screen for a single moment of the film’s compact 97 minutes and 37 seconds. To call it gripping might be an understatement. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Johnson Thomas, Free Press Journal : ...Though Hansal’s accomplished craft is what gives this cinematic rendition a sharp perspective it’s actually Rajkumar Rao who lends efficacy to the entire effort. His portrayal of Omar Saeed is so torturously real that you wouldn’t think of him as any other. This is a compelling, never-to-be-missed, true blue effort.... full review

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Free Press Journal : ...“Omerta” is not an easy film to watch. It cuts the protagonist’s movements down to size in episodic chunks and then regurgitates the vivid moments into scenes of colour-blinded documentation. There is a moment where Omar, pretending to be an ordinary tourist in Delhi named Rohit is accosted by an aggressive cop on the road who tells him bluntly that he “looks” like a Muslim. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Sweta Kaushal, Hindustan Times : ...As the film does not delve much into the particular subject’s personal life, it becomes more of a larger comment on communal hatred and the futility of religion when it is used to propagate violence and evil purposes. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...Omerta has enough elements to keep you glued to your seats. Rajkummar Rao is outstanding and yet again nails another character coming out of a Hansal Mehta film. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...In recounting a widely documented tale, the screenplay hits the right thriller buttons. When violence is perpetrated indiscriminately and without any moral context created with the aid of a detailed back story, it can only be deeply disconcerting. Omerta is just that and therein lies its success. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Sreehari Nair, Rediff : ...A sense of injustice has been flaring in Mehta too since the time his face was blackened by Hindu fundamentalists. The face behind the black paint has since then, been his main subject. ... full review

So-So, Bollywood Hungama : ...On the whole, OMERTA has some engrossing moments and Rajkummar Rao’s award-worthy performance as its USP. But the unconventional narrative and dark, violent theme of the film will restrict its appeal. Box office wise, this film will have a tough road ahead but critically, it’s bound to get accolades. ... full review

So-So, by Urmimala Banerjee, Bollywood Life : ...Omerta is not a film for the faint-hearted. The jodi of Rajkummar Rao and Hansal Mehta has again proved that they have an hunger for brave and insightful cinema. ... full review

So-So, by Mayur Sanap, Deccan Chronicle : ...Omerta is gloomy and disturbing, it’s surely not the kind of movie you’d expect to attract regular cinegoers, but even for its selected audience group it remains underwhelming. Albeit, Rao’s spectacular performance should earn it a good attention. Its yet another welcome addition to his brazen filmography. ... full review

So-So, by SUPARNA SHARMA, Deccan Chronicle : ...The ambiguity Mehta is fond of is embedded in the title of his film as well. Omerta is an Italian word that literally means “among the mafia”, but is the code the mafia live by — keeping silent and not cooperating with the police against their own.... full review

So-So, by Meena Iyer, DNA : ...Omerta is worth a dekko if you like terror sagas. Interspersing news footage — from the ’90s until the recent Mumbai 26/11 attacks — with a glamourised version of Omar’s life, it does manage to provide an overview of a contemporary terror hero. The likes of him literally have world-safety hanging perilously by a thread. You may as well know his face! ... full review

So-So, by Rahul Desai, Film Companion : ...More than a reductive term like ‘evil,’ it’s a sickness, an addiction – one that is writ large over the formidable actor’s face despite his failing accents – that Mehta tries to discover by staying at arm’s length ... full review

So-So, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ... Watching the film is like reading a newspaper report on the terrorist. It gives you a huge lot of facts but doesn't provide you with the complete picture. ... full review

So-So, by Shalini Langer, indian express : ...Mehta has said he didn’t intend to “humanise” Omar but “demonise” him — and one scene especially makes that evident. According to him, Omerta is the “companion piece to Shahid”, that if there are victims of the system, there are those men of violence who are sponsored by that system too. ... full review

So-So, by Uday Bhatia, Live Mint : ...What you don’t get is the immersion into a character’s psyche that marked the previous Mehta biopics, Shahid and Aligarh (2015). In the end, we’re not much closer to understanding the man holding up a decapitated head than we were at the start.... full review

So-So, by Mayank Shekhar, MiD DAY : ...It's a shame really that Omerta lacks depth, never giving an insight into Omar's criminal designs. As a thriller, it's pacy and yet, distinctly half-baked and stiff. I assure you, this movie could be about one of most dreaded men of our times but this film tells us nothing about the man that a quick google search wouldn't. As for Rao, a friend rightly puts it - He was good even in Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana; what's special about this then? ... full review

So-So, by Mohar Basu , MiD DAY : ...It's a shame really that Omerta lacks depth, never giving an insight into Omar's criminal designs. As a thriller, it's pacy and yet, distinctly half-baked and stiff. I assure you, this movie could be about one of most dreaded men of our times but this film tells us nothing about the man that a quick google search wouldn't. As for Rao, a friend rightly puts it - He was good even in Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana; what's special about this then? ... full review

So-So, by Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...A biography of a terrorist mastermind required the filmmaker to delve into his mind. Particularly since this pertains to a man who has received his education in the West, it was essential to detail his transformation into a fundamentalist and the twisted logic he employs to rationalise his extreme views. But filmmaker Hansal Mehta takes the lazy route and spontaneously chanting “Allah Ho Akbar!” with a group of militants is apparently enough to suggest that he has turned over to the other side. ... full review

So-So, by Rajeev Masand, News18.com : ...I’m going with three out of five for Omerta. You might see it as the other side of the same coin that is Shahid. The making of a man deeply affected by similar incidents, but one who chooses a different path. ... full review

So-So, by Manisha Lakhe, Now Running.com : ...The film is too disjointed by far to make any impact. In fact when you see his rational father say that he's innocent seems completely out of character. Rajkummar Rao has worked very hard on his British accent and even says 'Innit' rather well, but you wonder why he speaks English in Pakistan in a Dhaba and to other locals, and then gets enraged when other terrorists in training laugh at his 'softness'. It's a biopic, so watch it with a sense of detachment and wonder why the film was made. ... full review

So-So, by Reza Noorani, Times of India : ...The director has not invested much screentime into how Omar plans his complex actions or what drove him to such abhorrence. So while Mehta gets the mood right, and Rajkummar works wonders with his limited material, 'Omerta' fails to stir you emotionally. ... full review

So-So, ZEENEWS.COM : ...Overall, at the end as you leave the theatre, you are bound to question the motive of this film and its worthiness. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Suhani Singh, india today : ...Ultimately his portrait of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh inspires neither fear nor disdain. It leaves you empty and wondering as to what drew Mehta to this guy in the first place. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Shilpa Jamkhandikar, Reuters : ...“Omerta” goes for effect rather than depth by focusing on Omar’s modus operandi rather than his intentions and ideologies. Even as a thriller, it is tepid, never upping the ante. Rajkummar Rao, one of the best actors in the Hindi film industry, puts in a staccato performance. Even he is not able to rise above the stilted script. ... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

No readers have rated this movie yet.

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Pretty Violent. Gory, Brutal.
  • Language: Language, intermittently, is not child or young adult friendly.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None.
  • Concept: Universal
  • General Look and Feel: Universal

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Direction:
Story:
Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Dialogues:
Screenplay:
Music Director:

Omerta - Cast, crew, links

Director:
Lead Cast:
Story:
Screenplay:
Cinematography:
Music Director:
Running time:
96 minutes
Reviewer:
Language:
Country:

Comments (0)

There are no comments on this entry yet.

Leave a Comment