'U Turn' review: The road to discovery

Samantha in an image from ‘U-Turn’

Samantha in an image from ‘U-Turn’  


A densely-textured film that gets most of its twists spot on

U Turn kicks off with a rather casual mother-daughter conversation. They’re seated inside an autorickshaw and the mother eggs on Rachna (Samantha) to quit her journalism dreams and get married. “Namba kalyana panikalama (Shall we get married),” Rachna asks the autodriver on a whim. It’s one of the few lighter moments in a film that quickly gets into serious thriller mode.

Rachna works at a newspaper office and has a crush on Aditya (Rahul Ravindran), a crime reporter. She's working on her own crime story — one she has been tracking for a while — on the happenings at the Velachery flyover. That flyover is the centrepoint for the film; that’s where motorists, almost every day, pay little heed to the boulders and take a U-turn to reach their destination faster. Rachna hopes to find them and conduct interviews, for a story on why people lack basic civic sense.

While doing so, she becomes a suspect herself. A spate of murders takes place and suddenly, Rachna finds herself right in the thick of things.

U-Turn review
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Cast: Samantha, Aadhi, Bhumika
  • Storyline: A reporter gets caught in the middle of a crime story that’s unfolding

So do we. Director Pawan Kumar slowly, but surely, steers U Turn into a densely textured film that springs surprises every now and then. We think that this is a simple open-and-shut case, but as Rachna and Nayak (an effective Aadhi) dip deeper, they realise there’s more to it.

U Turn is the remake of an acclaimed Kannada film by the same name and for those who’ve not watched the original, the twists keep you hooked. It plays out at most times like many of those English crime novels you read as a kid — you just can’t sleep without completing the book.

Helping the cause on the big screen greatly is the camerawork (Niketh) which lovingly hovers around the numerous files and suspects we’re used to seeing in a police station. Samantha gets a meaty role and scores. Watch her in the sequence when she’s just back home after an entire night of police interrogation. She collapses on the floor, wimpering, taking us right into the mind of what someone would feel like in such trying times. She does falter, however, at times in the second half, not looking as taken aback as she ought to be due to the events unfolding in front of her. The police interrogation sequences do sag at times and the horror angle to the storyline unfolds rather leisurely, but these are among the minor complaints with an otherwise taut script.

If you’re on the way someplace as you’re reading this and have not watched the Kannada original, we suggest you take a ‘U-turn’ and head to the nearest cinema hall screening this film. Welcome to Tamil cinema, director Pawan Kumar. We hope to see more of your work soon.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 2:40:18 PM |

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