Jagame Thandhiram review – an action-filled story where morality takes centre stage

June 18, 2021
Daniel Hart 0
Film Reviews, Netflix
3.5

Summary

This film will invite groans due to its length, but it doesn’t concern itself with that type of criticism — the action and the story do the talking.

3.5

Summary

This film will invite groans due to its length, but it doesn’t concern itself with that type of criticism — the action and the story do the talking.

This review of the Netflix film Jagame Thandhiram does not contain spoilers.

There’s no real “good guy” in Jagame Thandhiram, and it doesn’t need one. As the lengthy story progresses, the director had a clear vision in mind. The Netflix film shines with the lesser of the two evils, bringing strong themes surrounding refugees in need.

You wouldn’t believe that the film would be so heavily thematic in the opening act; following Suruli (played by Dhanush), a leading Tamilian character, is the king of his own home, proudly taking out opposing gang members and finding ways to protect his community; he comes across as care-free, and a little crazed. He’s good at what he does. And it’s difficult to understand how a character who is so used to violence can be liked.

But then, he is recruited to work for a crime lord in London called Peter Sprout (played by James Cosmo). The man is heavily disrespectful against immigrants, but he likes Suruli due to his efficient skills in dealing with gangs; using his privilege, Peter pays Suruli a lot of money to work for him, to take out the opposing gang led by Sivadoss (played by Joju George). Ironically, Suruli is tasked to harm the people he’s most associated with, for a man who could not care less outside his English skewed vision.

Jagame Thandhiram is a fight between good and evil, but knowing what all the characters are capable of, it becomes more about “less evil” than a story of heroism. The film does marvelously well with its action sets and refuses to shy away from the violence, bringing forth electrifying characters to keep you engaged.

And it is a good job that the film has a certainty to keep you engaged; spanning at two hours and forty minutes, I feared the worst; I genuinely believed I was going to be bored into oblivion, but I only looked at the time during the third act, which still serves thrilling moments. Is the film necessary to be that long? Absolutely not. Shed a few minutes here and there, and the film would easily work. This is certainly the case of the director getting his cut over the theatrical edit.

The morality at play in Jagame Thandhiram gets stronger as the feature progresses; it becomes less a story of gang warfare and more a narrative that discusses the unfairness of refugee treatment. It’s surprising how the film arrives at such a junction, but it hints at the discussion early on with flagrant racism from one of the lead characters. This is certainly a surprising film, and while it overindulges, it works well.

While a measure of investment is needed (finding three hours is hard), Netflix’s Jagame Thandhiram is worth the ride. The absorbing lead character and his casual attitude pull audiences through the journey. This film will invite groans due to its length, but it doesn’t concern itself with that type of criticism — the action and the story do the talking.