‘Sathya’ manages to do what few Indian thrillers have – keep the tense thrills running through almost the entire film.

Sathya review A taut gripping thriller that keeps you rooted to your seatFacebook/Sibiraj
Flix Film Review Friday, December 08, 2017 - 16:30

Confessions first: I never managed to catch the Tollywood thriller Kshanam when it hit the screens. That made Sathya, its Tamil remake starring Sibiraj, a complete revelation for me.

Freed from the comparison to the original, I was able to watch Sathya as just what it was – a taut, compelling thriller that kept me rooted to my seat and waiting for the final twist.

Sathya (Sibiraj) leads a successful, but empty life in Australia, until one day a call from Swetha (Remya Nambeesan), an ex-lover for whom Sathya still carries a torch, starts off a trip down the rabbit hole. Swetha claims that she was attacked by two men and her daughter kidnapped by them. But nobody else, including the cops, seem interested to help her. So, she turns to Sathya as her last resort.

As Sathya descends into the strange mystery though, something doesn’t ring right. While Swetha’s behaviour is constantly suspicious, everyone else swears that Swetha never even had a daughter. But, for love, Sathya is determined to see the mystery through.

Sathya manages to do what so few Indian thrillers manage, to consistently keep the tension of the mystery running through the entire film. Shot and edited very competently, the thrilling plot runs like a train, never really hitting any stumbling blocks on the way. The script litters the film with twists, and while not all of them are equally convincing, they all manage to keep the audience completely engaged.

Director Pradeep Krishnamoorthy is careful to ensure that the backstories told through flashbacks never overwhelm the main narrative or distract attention from it. And neither does the film go overboard with the action parts of the action thriller, and the temptation to overstuff the film with fight sequences is carefully avoided.

And while some of the humour did not work for me, there were a couple of really hilarious moments in the film. At one point for instance, Sibiraj says, “Enakku nadika varaathu (I don’t know how to act).” Pat comes the reply, “Adudhaan oorukke theriyun (That the whole town knows).”

The tight, racy narrative is more than ably supported by a very competent cast. Sibiraj is surprisingly good as the troubled hero who’s fumbling his way through a mystery that refuses to make sense. Remya turns in a good performance as the vulnerable ex-girlfriend, while Varalaxmi Sarathkumar holds her own as the tough-as-nails ACP.

You’ll also probably notice Anand Raj as the quirky but tough cop who’s ready to beat answers out of everyone. But it is Sathish who really shines among the supporting cast, and is absolutely convincing as the shady car dealer Babu Khan, who has a change of heart and helps Sathya figure out the mystery.

The film’s songs and background music also work rather well, though it could have been underplayed a bit at certain points.

There are a few obvious problems with Sathya. The fact that the plot revolves so centrally around very patriarchal notions of family and relationships is something that sits troublingly in this otherwise very clever plot. The hasty resolution to the film after such a nice buildup is also a bit of a letdown. The weakest point for me, though, was the very unnecessary insertion of a few Nigerians into this crime thriller, simply for exotic value and to play on existing stereotypes.

But these are talking points that can be taken up after you’ve enjoyed one of the most exciting thrill rides this year.

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Neither TNM nor any of its reviewers have any sort of business relationship with the film's producers or any other members of its cast and crew.

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