Kadaram Kondan Movie Review: This technically excellent remake lacks emotional strength

Kadaram Kondan opens with an aerial shot of the cityscape in Malaysia. It’s night, and you are allowed to take in the orderly traffic, the well-lit roads, the beautiful skyscrapers, the train that runs through the heart of the city… The opening shot slowly moves towards a skyscraper, like in the opening scene of The Dark Knight (I don’t make this Hollywood film comparison easily at all), and you know instinctively that one of the glass windows is about to break into a hundred pieces — and so it does. Every single one of these elements from the opening shot takes centrestage at different times in this two-hour thriller. This is a film about a wronged ‘double agent’, KK, who knows the environment inside out. This is why he can hide in plain sight. He’s a master manipulator, a skilled fighter who can bend situations to his will. In a poetically exaggerated sense, you could say he has the measure of Malaysia. Hence the film’s title, a reference to the Chola conquest of Kadaram (as the capital city of the country was once called).

Curiously though, this, you could say, is at the heart of what doesn’t work about Kadaram Kondan. The original French film on which it is based, Point Blank (2010), remains focussed on the lengths an innocent medical professional goes to, in order to rescue his kidnapped wife. The character here is Vasu (Abi Hassan), and it is all he can do to keep his wife, Aatirah (Akshara Haasan) safe. With a star like Vikram playing an important character though, the focus on Vasu suffers. To be fair to director Rajesh M Selva, he tries hard not to make KK the centre of his story. He doesn’t give him too many dialogues, and there are hardly any punch lines (the line, “Neenga vilayadinadhu yen kitta illa, Yeman kitta” line feels distinctly out of place). Such writing works to KK’s benefit and establishes him as a dangerous man who can kill without a moment’s notice.

For the remainder of this review (and there’s a lot more left, I assure you), please visit https://www.cinemaexpress.com/reviews/tamil/2019/jul/19/kadaram-kondan-movie-review-vikram-akshara-haasan-abi-hassan-ghibran-rajesh-m-selva-13084.html

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