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Con Job

Film: Glass, Cast: James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Samuel L Jackson, Sarah Paulson, Directed by: M Night Shyamalan, Duration: 2 hrs 10 mins, Rating:  * * *

Director M Night Shyamalan’s previous film ‘Split’ (2016) was one of his better efforts, also thanks to James McAvoy who was terrific playing more than a handful of split personalities. The climax had an interesting revelation that the story is linked to ‘Unbreakable’ (2000) and Bruce Willis’ character David Dunn is still very much around.

‘Glass’ is the conclusion of Shyamalan’s ‘East Rail 177’ trilogy that started almost two decades ago. Undeniably, this film makes some good points about superheroes, especially considering that there a dozen of them around and every month there is a film on a comic book super hero. ‘Glass’ also keeps you engaged except when at times it gets a little lax and indulgent. It strains at times to make the point about superheroes and a bit of chopping and trimming would have helped its cause.

David Dunn (Willis) is looking for clues to search for The Beast (James McAvoy, playing multiple personalities) and the old man is still a superhero who operates under the radar. His son Joseph (Spencer Clark, playing the same role he did in 2000 as a young boy) helps him remotely in his vigilante endeavours – Dunn also has a nickname now, The Overseer.

The Beast on the other hand is one the 23 slit personalities that Kevin Crumb has – they are collectively known as The Horde. The leaves Elijah (Samuel L Jackson) aka Mr Glass the mastermind from ‘Unbreakable’ who is now in a psychiatry hospital.

The three main protagonists land up there with a doctor (Sarah Paulson) striving hard to make a point that they are ordinary human beings without any special abilities.

The scene is set-up well but then you have to wait for the action to unfold – there is a lot of talk – some of it makes sense, some doesn’t add any value.

The guards at the sanatorium deserve the Worst Security of the year award – it is loop holes like these that prevent ‘Glass’ from really taking off.

Shyamalan obviously knows a thing or two about comic books (now-a-days, who doesn’t?) and has an interesting take and some points to make. But that comes in the form of plain dialogues and is not supplemented with visuals. While most superhero films look at their characters as extraordinary with a human touch, here it is the other way round – Shyamalan keeps them rooted more as normal people who can blow hot if needed.

While Willis and Jackson don’t have precious much to do, James McAvoy steals the show again, every time he is on screen. So ‘Glass’ may not be the best conclusion but it is a satisfactory one.



Film: Why Cheat India, Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Shreya Dhanwanthary, Directed by: Soumik Sen, Duration: 2 hrs, Rating: * 1 / 2

First, a word about the film certification board (it shouldn’t be called censor board because that is not part of their job – their job is only to certify films). This film was originally titled Cheat India, it is based on the education system and stories of paper leaks and impersonation that are heard every other day in the country. But the certification board thought that the title was too negative and hence added ‘Why’ at the beginning.

Common sense and rational thinking was never the forte of the board but now it is obvious that even grammar is not their cup of tea. And I’m glad that films like ‘Shree 420’ and ‘Awara’ were made in the 50’s – who knows, today’s board would have told Raj Kapoor saab to change the title to something more positive.

Having said that, with or without the additional word before the original title, this still remains one of the most deathly dull films in recent times. The skeleton of the story has some value but it is all frittered away with some shoddy writing and direction.

In India, just about every problem has a solution – even if you don’t get marks or fail in an exam, there is a solution. Emraan Hashmi plays Rakesh better known as Rocky. Instead of telling the story with earnestness, Soumik Sen goes all out with clichés. Rocky makes a grand entry by beating up a bunch of people in a theatre and telling them that Kajol is the killer.

He finds a niche field to make money – by substituting the original candidate in an exam with a bright but fake one who will answer the exam. His business grows successfully, his tentacles spread to other places and he makes a lot of money. At one point he even states – “Newton ka 4th law – Gareeb se koi pyaar nahi karta” (Newton’s 4th law states that no one loves a poor man).

I had a tough time keeping awake with the proceedings – they are as much fun as standing in the queue in a government office.

Even at two hours, the story is so thin that they had to throw in some songs, but pretty much everything in the film misses the mark by a mile. Shreya Dhanwanthary is promising in the small role that she has but otherwise this has nothing to write about. Why cheat India in the name of filmmaking?

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