Yaman: An Unbearably Slow Political Thriller with Awful Performances
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
What is a film that’s so mind-numbingly boring and unbearably slow called? A train wreck? After watching the incredibly dull and god-awful Yaman, it is safe to say that train wrecks begin to seem interesting in comparison. The next time a director writes a miserable political thriller, I will be tempted to coin the term ‘Pulling a Yaman.’
The chaotic and misleading plot is centered around Tamil Arasan (Vijay Anthony), a character who gets caught in a political triangle. On his journey from being an earnest young man to a seemingly decent politician, Tamil Arasan is forced to confront corrupt politicians such as Mani Maran (G.Marimuthu), Selva Rathnam and Karunakaran (Thyagarajan). This eventually leads to a vengeful blast from his past in the form of the formidable minister Thangapandi. What follows is terrifyingly dull character arcs and awfully predictable plot twists that grow into one of the worst political thrillers in the history of Tamil cinema.
How can politics ever be dull? It‘s misleading, gets your blood boiling and is definitely entertaining. Spectators love commenting on the cheap thrills that political thrillers tend to indulge in. However, a dull political thriller is can quite simply be attributed to bad writing coupled with failing performances. Jeeva Shankar employs several twists, but sadly none of them carry any depth. The plot doesn’t engage the audience for even a minute.
Every little plot twist makes its way into the story, but just floats on the surface, never actually leaving an impact. The story has great potential but instead sinks slowly as a result of bad acting, a slow screenplay, bland music and artificial execution.
Yaman fails to do what a film like Iruvar did in 1997. Slow films can be interesting, but only if accompanied by enthralling anecdotes and larger than life personalities. Every frame in Iruvar left you wanting more. The body language of the characters left you in awe and the actors exhibited such fine conviction. Sadly, Yaman comes nowhere close. Once you witness the film’s climax, the entire first half of the film seems irrelevant. Isn’t it irresponsible of the director to let down their own writing in such a manner?
As if the dull narrative isn’t frustrating enough, Yaman finds yet another way to make you depressed – its preachy and incredibly long dialogues. Leaving nothing to the imagination, Jeeva Shankar undermines the audience’s intelligence by establishing and reestablishing every little detail. In one scene, two crooks chase Tamil Arasan, constantly reassuring each other of their purpose. It’s almost like the film’s characters are giving us live updates with every passing second.
The performances on the whole are a letdown. Vijay Anthony underplays everything; from his rigid dancing to his inability to emote, his performance is extremely disappointing. Miya George has very little to do in this film, and her emotional palate is very limited; she simply smiles her way through the film. Thyagarajan’s slow monotone and flat dialogue delivery is cringe-worthy. His complete lack of intensity in portrayal of Karunakaran is appalling.
When it seems as though the central characters are not invested in selling this proclaimed political thriller, how are the audiences expected to find the plot convincing? Despite several murders taking place, none of them seem to be cold blooded. While there are corrupt politicians at every turn, none of them are threatening enough. These elements fail to establish the necessary mood for the scenes in the film.
The tracking shots are too slow, and several frames are out of focus. In one scene, the frame focuses on a character’s head for an entire minute. The camera frequently seems to focus on Vijay Anthony despite other characters being in the frame. Vijay Anthony’s incredibly slow and failed heroic walk is put on display one too many times.
Vijay Anthony’s BGM attempts to instill heroism but instead fails because the characters lack the personality for it. Furthermore, the movie’s songs are distracting and forgettable, and the production design is a total disaster. From Tamil Arasan’s bar to his house, everything looks artificial, staged and sometimes even overdone.
Overall, Yaman is an unbearably slow film made worse by terrible performances, preachy dialogues, and disastrous execution. If the Tamil Nadu political scenario was this slow, the free falling TRPs of many prominent TV channels would have forced them to shut up shop by now.