Spyder review (Tamil): A tangled web

It’s a miracle Sypder got made and I mean that in the nicest possible way. As I watched the film, I kept wondering if there’s any other Indian director who could have got such a script green-lighted, let alone complete it convincingly. A work of ambition, it’s a pleasure to see a director do so much, despite having the dates of a superstar.

What’s equally astonishing is how a superstar agreed to be a part of a film where the hero, essentially, hates heroism. Intelligence Bureau officer Siva (Mahesh Babu making a sure-footed entry in Tamil) is someone who loves anonymity and he prefers to save the day in silence. Instead of the top, he sits in the basement of a towering 20-storey building where he has developed a software, the eponymous Spyder, to pre-empt crimes by tapping phone calls (remember Minority Report?).

He listens to phone calls all-day long and ensures nothing serious really happens. But where’s the drama in that, right? Everything changes the moment a 16-year-old girl calls up a friend and tells her that she’s scared and alone. Siva sends a female police constable to protect her but it doesn’t help. Both are massacred and their limbs severed.

Siva realises that his software works best when he’s dealing with ‘lesser’ criminals. The man in question isn’t someone who’d pre-plan a murder because his motivations are different. He doesn’t kill for money or for revenge. He just kills. Growing up in a cemetery, playing football with a human skull (so his upbringing is to blame?), Sudalai (a rocking SJ Suryah) finds his ecstasy in listening to people wail in pain. He has SPD or Sadistic Personality Disorder and it’s upto Siva to stop a criminal who doesn’t understand fear.

What follows are a series of set pieces we’ve come to expect from director Murugaodoss. If in Kaththi, the hero managed to fight the establishment with a group of pensioners, in Spyder he assembles a group of housewives to fight a covert rescue operation.

Yet it’s far from being flawless. For a Rs.120 crore film, it’s appalling to see such shoddy VFX work. How can something as cool as a fight on a moving roller coaster, look this dull? The same goes with scenes involving a massive boulder as well. But these are nothing when one sees how ineffectively, AR Murugadoss continues to use his songs. Used more like a breather before heavy-duty action sequences, the songs drain a lot from what is intended to be an edge-of-the-seat thriller.

Even so, there’s much to like about a mass hero film where he wins over the villain using intelligence rather than muscle. If only we were intelligent enough to understand what the heroine was doing in the middle of all this. 

Director: AR Murugadoss

Cast: Mahesh Babu, SJ Suryah, Rakul Preet Singh

Storyline: An IB officer designs a software capable of pre-empting crimes


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Printable version | Jan 17, 2022 11:59:13 PM |

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