‘Beast’ Movie Review: Vijay’s Last Is A Boring, Tedious Affair

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Directed by Nelson, this action drama required much more depth in its screenplay

Directed by Nelson, this action drama required much more depth in its screenplay

Comedy as a genre has undergone a drastic change in Tamil cinema. A few decades ago, the comedian, usually the hero’s best friend, appeared in scenes inserted between song and action sequences, providing plenty of food for the Tamil comedy TV channels. This “separate comedy” track is now a thing of the past, since the arrival of new-age directors. Nelson, one of them, was a pioneer in bringing comedy to the fore in vital sequences, whatever the mood of the scene. This was evident — and worked to a large extent — in Kolamavu Kokila and Doctor.

This trope fails him The beast, Vijay’s latest film, currently running in theaters. Vijay is cast as Veera Raghavan, a RAW agent who can dodge a hundred bullets and yet come out unscathed. The first minutes of the film feature him on the Indian border, where he does something he ends up regretting. You can feel the Why – or the emotional weight – in this scene.

But that, unfortunately, is missing in the rest of the film. You also don’t feel the nervousness that should be present in a tense situation like this. Somewhere in the tumult of a shopping mall in Chennai, which is taken hostage by a group of terrorists, both emotion and logic, to a large extent, kick in.

Will Veera Raghavan be able to save these innocent civilians? Why Did Terrorists Capture a Mall in Chennai?

The beast

With: Vijay, Pooja Hegde, Selvaraghavan, VTV Ganesh, Yogi Babu

Director: Nelson

Scenario: A former RAW agent must rescue hostages held by terrorists in a shopping mall

The beast as a subject – a hostage situation at a mall and a hero ready to save them – is right in Nelson’s aisle, going by his past record. The interaction between the characters may have made for some ticklish scenes, but sadly we’re left with only the occasional funny VTV Ganesh one-liners. Vijay’s interaction with Selvaraghavan, mediating between the government and the terrorists, seems much more casual. The romance with Pooja Hegde and her whole setup could have been avoided entirely, and it still wouldn’t have made much of a difference.

An image from Beast

A still of The beast
| Photo credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

By worshiping the hero and featuring plenty of slow-motion sequences and intense action scenes, Nelson falls into a trap he carefully avoided in his previous Doctor. Here too, much like Sivakarthikeyan in the previous outing, Vijay is aloof and expressionless. But unlike this film, he prefers to use more muscles than brains… which is one of the big problems of The beast.

The writing is a big disappointment, especially in the second half after the hostage situation is brought under control, and the lack of a strong villain to challenge the lead starkly shines through. The beast seems like very rushed work, when the director and crew set out to make a film in a limited amount of time, running out of ideas. There’s music by Anirudh, with the song “Jolly O Gymkhana” playing during the closing credits, and some VTV Ganesh gags if you really care, but The beast very few other dishes.

Beast is currently shooting in theaters

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