Captain Miller Review - Potential for a solid action drama lost amidst a barrage of bullets!

PUBLISHED DATE : 12/Jan/2024

Captain Miller Review - Potential for a solid action drama lost amidst a barrage of bullets!

Captain Miller - Potential for a solid action drama lost amidst a barrage of bullets!
Bharath Vijayakumar
The first hour of Captain Miller is some solid cinema. And the conflicts are superbly set up. The hero isn't fighting for the society. He is fighting for his self-respect. Something, that he hopes to receive from the Britishers. He isn't allowed to enter the temples, nor can he use footwear. But joining the army and serving the British would mean that he can wear boots! So Annaleesan, fondly called as Eesan, becomes Miller. But the respect comes with a clause. He needs to become a cold-blooded killing machine. And who does he have to kill? The brave hearts fighting for India's freedom. These initial portions of Captain Miller that establish the period, the milieu and the conflicts and motives of the protagonist are terrific. We get into the world of the film, and we are invested with the emotions of the hero. There is this shot of the hero facing a huge fire. On the big screen, this is a spectacle. But this also isn't a mere visual thing. The emotions too are raging like wildfire here. The lead up to this scene has the hero closing his eyes to commit an action that he doesn't want to. But now his eyes are wide open, and he is facing the outcome of his actions as the guilt inside is burning as brightly as the flames outside.

Captain Miller works wonderfully well till the point the hero is juggling/struggling with his emotions. It is when he becomes a war machine that can kill at will, that the film, whose screen is now filled with ammunition, starts letting go of its most potent weapon until now, the emotional investment. The idea to set up the conflicts and then have these long stretches of action is fine, but the issue is, who is Dhanush fighting and killing in the later half? The emotional investment that we had in the initial half, when he kicks a British captain (whom we hardly see for two minutes on screen) into the fire, is hardly felt, when he is killing hordes and hordes of men running towards him with guns. The one note and predictable villains contribute a great deal to our disinterest. And what was that caricature like portrayal of the character played by John Kokken? For a film that is actually trying to make such an important point, that it is not just those who are trying to invade us who are villains, but anyone who discriminates is, the characterization of the villains is such a dampener. Also, for a film that confidently takes its time to establish the leading man and his world, the final action sequence leaves a lot to be desired. We get this in our larger-than-life action films that are built around theatre moments. But why get into that kind of a zone when this isn't that kind of a film? Ironically, these don't really work as theater moments as well.

In that initial hour, Dhanush is excellent. He once again does what he is so good at. Expressing a whole lot of emotions, without actually giving the impression that he is expressing so much. The supporting cast though is a mixed bag.  

Technically sound and great to look at on the big screen right through. The politics the film speaks is important as well. But after a superbly done initial hour, the film slowly and steadily loosens its grip over us, as our emotional investment is lost amidst a barrage of bullets.

Rating: 2.75/5

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