Friday, 12 February 2016

Jil Jung Juk - amusing, even if a bit too self-conscious

Saw a movie first day for the first time ever (that I remember) today. That wasn't the only unusual thing about it. I normally avoid heavily hyped things because I find the hype to be a big turn off. Especially hype that precedes the actual release of whatever is being hyped. Not sure why I made an exception this time - the soundtrack got my attention early, maybe that's why?

Either way, I'm not regretting my choice and wishing my money back in my wallet. That might sound like very lukewarm praise, especially considering the hype machine is going into overdrive even post release for this movie. But the movie suffered from a case of trying too hard and falling short for the most part. More style than substance. Very much a product of its time - said time being one filled with easily shareable memes. This is going to make me sound like a hipster, but I was on the internet before it was overrun with these kids and their social media, and remember when memes were more in-jokes among a relatively small user base in an internet forum. For me at least, the appeal of these was in the fact that they were a way to bond with a select group of people with similar interests. But those days are gone, and I'm rambling on.

Back to the movie itself, there were some good laughs to be had and some of the music choices were quite delightful. My favourite part of the movie was when a carnatic piece was used as the soundtrack for a shoot-out sequence - "cue cool music" Indian style; QT would be proud. The jokes that got the most laughs out of me (and most of the audience in the show I watched) were the perverted ones (duh) - the porn references especially. Loved those. The dude who played Juk (where have I seen him before?) also had some funny moments that I enjoyed though his character was a bit over-milked at places.

The thrills weren't as thrilling as they wanted to be (though the music and the camera tried their very best), but since I didn't go in expecting a thriller, I wasn't disappointed by that. What I found frustrating was the rushed nature of the whole thing. Maybe this was done on purpose to make repeat viewings necessary. Maybe it's another sign of the the ADD filled times we live in. Maybe I'm just slow. I did wish there were subtitles at a lot of places (why, oh why, must the bass on soundtrack be so loud and drown out the voice and make me miss huge chunks of the dialog?), and my Tamil reading skills are admittedly a bit rusty so the Tamil-only captions that went whizzing by made me go aargh. If I watch this again, it's most probably not going to be in a theater. I must have the power to pause and rewind!

I said if just now, but I probably should have said when. So yeah, the whackiness was a bit overdone and the movie wasn't all it could have been, but it was still entertaining and not stereotypical. And that's a win. When the vast majority of Tamil movies that are churned out still stick to stupid boring formulas, it's refreshing to see something, anything, new. Even if it isn't really all that new in the larger scheme of things. It's better to have tried and not (completely) succeeded than to have never tried at all, right? If it's true for love, surely it's true for movies, which are a product of love. Or should be. This one clearly was, and for that, it gets a pass.  

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