HIT ~ Uneven Fit…
Movie Review: Hit (2020)
Directed by Sailesh Kolanu
Cast: Vishwaksen Sharma, Murli Sharma, Brahmaji, Hari Teja, Bhanu Chander, and Sahithi
Music Composed by Vivek Sagar
Editing by Garry BH
Cinematography by S Manikandan
HIT movie tries to be a crime thriller but it ends up being “Procedural Drama“. What is the problem? The main thing that we miss in “Thrillers” these days is the “thrill” itself. The thrill doesn’t mean that we need detailing in every scene or climax should be unpredictable. Thrill comes in engaging an audience member from the first frame to the last frame. A character keeps solving the maze inside the “limitations” – the climax and situations allow it to explore. Within the time, we would love to become that character and then think like it or think like “us” within all those limitations. We can think like us and still feel the thrill as we might be one step ahead or one step behind. But if we become the character and think like it, we take the character with us.
In Inception, which is also a thriller, we don’t think like Cobb, the film encourages us to think like us, feel like us while imagining that we are in that situation. When it comes to Sherlock Holmes, we try to think like him. We try to behave like him. Even Mission Impossible, James Bond, Criminal Minds, etc come under this category. The writer of the original book and even the makers tried to engage us by letting us imagine like the character than being us while watching it. What is the difference? Inception is a unique heist thriller with a premise that you can hardly imagine. In such a situation, pushing you to ride along with it and giving you clues on how to understand it, is important. But in Sherlock Holmes, the situation could be regular, simple and easy to solve at the outset, still, he can bring out a unique way to solve it and in complex mazes, he brings out some character moments, that we would love to ape or mimic.
The basic difference between both of them is not the maze but the screenplay structure. When a writer tries to explain each and every procedure in a thriller to keep you hooked, it becomes a procedural drama or a psychological study. When the same person or a different one, decides to engage you with the maze itself, then it can take the shape of a heist or escape drama. Kavaludaari from Kannada is the best example of a procedural drama, in recent times. It tries to hold your attention by creating a case that looks simple but gets complicated as we fig deep. There, we are asked to connect with the characters. We are asked to understand the moral compass through which the lead character is guiding himself in solving the case and other characters try to help him because of his passion or drive than the case itself.
But in HIT, there is an ACT I, ACT II and ACT III structure and a tickbox list, which is good enough to engage us momentarily but after a point, it misses what Kavaludari has, an interesting protagonist. ACP Vikram is a pedestrian cop that we regularly see and meet. Still, a cop can engage you in his/her story when they face a unique situation. HIT movie doesn’t take such an unique case, it takes a regular looking missing case, tries to complicate it and comes up with a solution that feels meek. ACT III underwhelms because ACT I and ACT II also act as long setup in the film. By the start of ACT II, we should have been in sync with Vikram and his thought process. We should have been engaged by the details that Vikram is observing while following a regular procedure. His character should feel like someone we need to know for sure.
That connection is achieved through his character arc. What this case is doing to him? How much did he change while solving the case or how much others think he has changed due to his past? What are the basic rules that he has set for himself when trying to solve a mystery? These questions are more important than the mystery. While mystery needs to be engaging, character moments really let us sit through labouring procedures that the character follows. HIT misses that badly.
Right from the first frame, it keeps switching between being a character study and “solving the maze” type screenplays, so much so that, we start wondering, is this mystery so big that we cannot solve? It is good, it means the film is engaging enough, at the same time it is bad too, if you don’t like the character, then the climax, especially the kind of stuff HIT tries to sell, feels highly underwhelming and procedures become “repetitive” with deadends. Such repetitive stuff becomes palpable when the character grows on you. HIT after a point becomes less imaginative as the writer goes back to usual troupes and tries to make everyone a suspect, forcefully. The reasoning or motive for the suspects & misdirects, doesn’t really convince you. Still, it keeps you mildly engaged due to your commitment to solving the puzzle and curiosity to know the killer or kidnapper. Hence, you come out with an underwhelmed feeling.
Garry BH, is a godsend to this film. We can make out that the first time the director tried many things within his script but Gary understood what holds it together more. It is his crisp cuts that helped the director to engage us more than his writing. Music by Vivek Sagar is also very good. It too elevates the mood and the director landed this technicality well too. Cinematography by S Manikandan deals more with the mood than just giving colorful frames and that is good too. As the technical departments support the film heavily, we don’t feel all our money and time has gone to waste.
Vishwak Sen as an actor can get easily typecast as a person who explodes in scenes that require him to show anger. He seems to be more comfortable in such scenes than playing other emotions. He needs improvement in reacting to actors within the scene in character than just doing what the line says. That is important for long life. Ruhani Sharma did not get much to do.
Finally, a procedural drama as a thriller works better when the ACT I becomes character introduction, ACT II becomes character development and ACT III becomes the character’s solution to the regular or unique puzzle (Memories (2013) sets a good example). When we don’t travel with the character or cannot understand why it behaves in a certain way or feel that there is no change in it, due to what we are witnessing in front of our eyes unravel, we end up taking a hit than feeling the hit. As it attempts to be more than what the first case allows it to be, it hits itself in the very guts that it has to “present” just like a sailor who wanted to explore a treasure Island but ends up being on a deserted island with no interest to set the sail for another “voyage” again.