'U Turn' review: Samantha pulls off a well-made thriller

While the first half is a solid thriller, the climax is disappointing.
'U Turn' review: Samantha pulls off a well-made thriller
'U Turn' review: Samantha pulls off a well-made thriller
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U Turn, with actor Samantha in the lead, is the bilingual (Tamil and Telugu) remake of Pawan Kumar’s Kannada thriller by the same name that released in 2016. The film stays true to its original version, with the director retaining the character names in the remake as well. U Turn, as the name suggests, has to do with traffic regulations and the film follows the events that happen over a flyover.

Rachana (Samantha) works as a reporting intern at Times of India. Having moved cities for her work, she stays alone in an apartment. The film, in fact, begins with an auto ride during which Rachana’s mother goes on and on about her daughter’s still single status, a conversation many employed, single women can relate to.

As a reporter, Rachana is working on her breakthrough story that has to do with all those who have the least regard for traffic regulations. This is where the film’s ‘U Turn’ comes into play. Rachana is collecting information on all those traffic offenders who’ve taken a U-turn atop the Velachery flyover, to interview and understand their thought process.

Rahul Ravindran plays Aditya, a crime reporter at TOI, and her workplace crush. Rachana, in fact, sets up their first coffee date by suggesting it herself. There’s no falling head over heels, sneaky staring from behind cubicles or cheesy lines. In that sense, Rachana is not your average Tamil heroine and the romance between the two does not make you want to roll your eyes. The team has also paid attention to Rachana’s look, with bare minimum makeup and styling her in practical, comfortable clothing.

Rachana’s seemingly normal life goes for a toss when she gets looped in a crime that lands her at the police station. Adhi plays police officer Nayak who gets involved in her case. While U-turn (the action) gives you a chance to go back to the start, there’s no turning back for the characters in this film. Why or how this happens forms the rest of the story.

The film has a gripping first half that has been executed quite well. You are as clueless as Rachana as to why she’s being interrogated, yet you wait for Nayak to trust her innocence before you can do so yourself.

Is it a psychological thriller or a paranormal thriller, is a question you’ll be asking when the film breaks for interval. Except for the fight sequence in the basement during the first half, where the film falters a tad bit, the mounting suspense is retained well.

However, the film loses its charm in the second half, breaking into a ‘pei-padam’ anti-climax. The portions with Bhoomika do the opposite for this thriller. While the sequences do seem real enough, the drama could’ve been avoided to accentuate the film’s suspense.

The dream-like sequence leading up to Rachana’s encounter with Maya (Bhoomika) has been done effectively. But the film tries to foster the philosophical in the most conventional ways possible and that is where it loses its unique setting. 

Adhi, our familiar cop, is dependably believable. The equation between the two is another angle that keeps you guessing. Samantha, too, is effortless as the rebellious Rachana. During a press event before the film’s release, Samantha had said that unlike most Tamil films, U Turn did not require her to dumb herself down for her character. We can see why. Nothing seems made-up about Rachana.

The team could’ve paid more attention to the dubbing that seems off in many places. There are no songs in U Turn. The Karma theme, that plays during the introduction credits is more of a promotional song and sounds passable.

Like in the original, Pawan has done a great job picking up the film’s cast. All three main characters - Rachana, Nayak and Aditya - fit into their characters quite naturally. Samantha has handled her character’s transformation very efficiently. The change in her demeanour following the night-long interrogation sets the ball rolling for the rest of the film.

U Turn sticks to the ‘every action has its reaction’ logic consistently. While we’d give a full 10 on 10 for the first half, the second half is less satisfying. 

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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