Loosely handled crime thriller is a mini-guarantee

Loosely handled crime thriller is a mini-guarantee

A still from 8 MM Bullet

Film: 8MM Bullet

Kannada (U/A)

Director: Harikrishna

Cast: Jaggesh, Vasishta N Simha, Rockline Venkatesh, Mayuri, Adi Lokesh.

Rating: 3/5

In his Saint Joan, playwright George Bernard Shaw says some people are punished for being wrong, while some are punished for being right. A gangster in Karnataka’s underworld,  acquitted of a murder charge, had remarked: “An act of denial of my involvement means insulting my bravery. Its acceptance means injustice to the criminal justice system." Meanwhile, actor Jaggesh had described himself as an MG Hero (Minimum Guarantee Hero).

These three statements are apt as far as 8 MM Bullet, a 2 hour 26 minute crime thriller, is concerned.

The protagonist, Jaggesh in the role of a constable, is punished for being right. Like the gangster’s statement, it is hard to either justify or reject the protagonist’s crimes. Finally, the movie is minimum guarantee in terms of cinematic experience and an intricate script. 

8 MM Bullet, a Kannada remake of Tamil’s 8 Thottakkal (2017), reminds one of Akira Kurosawa’s classic Stray Dog.

The story revolves around a gun, eight bullets and a chain of unavoidable murders. Around it are knitted a number of characters — cops, criminals and bystanders who ensure (offer) interesting baggage to the cat-and-mouse chase.

The threads of three moving sub-plots — of a constable neglected by his family, a man’s affair and a driver who wants to fly to Singapore —  are held together by the same objective: money. 

The film is rich in story but ambivalent in tone. An otherwise sensational crime thriller is rendered flat by debutant director Harikrishna’s poor handling of a serious, meditative and contemplative subject.

The narrative opens with unanswered questions about a woman's murder. But the intense suspense drama and the underlying emotional plot unravel only after Jaggesh arrives on the scene.

Harikrishna fails miserably in pacing and distribution the various cinematic elements proportionately. There are glaring mistakes in the details of a police procedural. He projects Vasistha Simha as a dutiful cop, but shows him riding a bike without a helmet! Senior officers resemble constables in dialogue delivery and body language.

Two irrelevant songs sequences are thrust upon the audience, testing their patience. Unconnected sequences between Simha and Mayuri, in the role of a journalist, break the momentum. 8 MM Bullet could have made for a satisfying viewing if only Harikrishna had chopped off a few scenes.

Jaggesh shoulders the film right from the beginning. It is, perhaps, one of his career-best performances. Some moving acts pack in an emotional punch as well.

While Rockline Venkatesh and Adi Lokesh do justice to their roles, Vasistha and Mayuri put up forgetful performances.

The biggest let down is the music by Judah Sandhy, which is lost amid noise and sound. Vincent’s cinematography is equally disappointing.

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