A one-liner that tries to be a film
Imagine if somebody bought you an ice cream and then proceeded to explain that it is an ice cream and that you are supposed to eat it and that it tastes sweet and that it melts in your mouth… you get the idea. Just give me the ice cream and let me deal with it! That’s the problem with Sutrula . It doesn’t respect your intelligence. This is confirmed each time a character talks in loud asides so that you can understand what’s going on — like in old stage plays. For instance, before Mahesh (Mithun) leaves his hotel room in Ooty to visit his girlfriend, he talks loudly to himself, “ Anju manikku Deepa-va pakkanum .” In another scene when you already know he’s searching for Deepa, he says, “ Deepa-ku enna aachu nu theriliye .” You may as well have the actors showing placards to the audience.
Sutrula has more serious blotches though, that spread far and beyond filmmaking techniques. While the overarching story seems interesting (the details of which are revealed too late), it’s the incredibly implausible nature of the details that really hurts. The villain, Johnny (Richard), keeps repeating the ill-fitting phrase ‘game of death’ throughout, and when he eventually puts together a painstakingly created ‘game’, seemingly taking after the villain of the Saw series, you don’t understand the motivation for his act, unlike in the American original. Why go through the motions of setting up a complicated obstacle course when you can easily take out all your enemies with bullets? “Because he likes to torture” isn’t good enough reason. Take the scene that shows Mahesh and Deepa (Sriji) having a lover’s tiff. When Deepa threatens to break up with Mahesh, he says he will jump off one of the three suicide points in Ooty if she leaves him. This emotional blackmail curiously enough convinces her of his affection — seemingly evident from her loving rebuke of him which goes, “ Dei idiot! ” — and sets the scene up for an unnecessary duet, the likes of which there are several in Sutrula . The bad writing is most evident in this scene — wait, there’s another that’s worse. When face to face with Johnny, a man who has lured him into committing murders, Mahesh is still angelic enough to listen patiently to his childhood sob story. You want to ask ‘why are you waiting for his flashback to end? Punch him already!’
Admittedly, Johnny’s flashback surprises you by not showing him as a victim of sexual abuse, say, like Dileep (Kamal Haasan), a womaniser in Sigappu Rojakkal . There’s a different issue at play here, and it could have made for an interesting film, and some seriously psychopathic sequences (like Dhanush’s at the end of Kaadhal Kondein ), if the writing had been better. However, that might be too much to expect from a film that has two characters comically flinging knives at each other in a climactic scene that ends up almost as parody.