‘Rebel’ movie review: A politically-charged story let down by shoddy filmmaking

Mar22,2024


A scene from 'Rebel'

A scene from 'Vidrohi' Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The last decade has been a game-changer for Tamil cinema with the advent of filmmakers like Pa Ranjith and Mari Selvaraj. His powerful films on systemic and structural oppression have made the right noise and driven home the point that art doesn't just have to reflect society, but also change it. Now, we've got Nikesh RS' Rebel, It is said that its plot is interesting and it is based on true events, hence it has become even more important to be told. But whether it translates well into a competent film is a different question.

basically, Rebel Has a brilliant plot: Set in the 80s, it is about the plight of Tamil laborers in the plantation areas of Munnar, Kerala. Since education is the only key that will bring them out of the pit of hell, Kathir (GV Prakash Kumar) and his friends get admission in a college in Chittoor, Palakkad, where they learn how much oppression their family faces in the estate. Used to be. A new expression here. Controlled by two student groups, which are extensions of the state political parties, its members take turns humiliating Kathir and company in various ways.

Rebel (Tamil)

Director: Nikesh R.S

Mould: GV Prakash Kumar, Mamita Baiju, Venkatesh VP, Shalu Rahim, Karunas

Runtime: 150 minutes

Story: Tamil students were abused and harassed in Kerala in the 80s, only for one of them to stand up against the atrocities and fight back.

One of the challenges of filmmaking that we often see in retrospect is that accidents and events that occur without any logic in real life require a reason in the showy world of cinema. The insults and vicious attacks that Kathir and his friends endure are harsh and difficult to digest and being based on true events, they feel like they might have happened, but they don't “feel” real. This depends on the film's treatment and does not contradict claims about what happened in those days. Unlike contemporary films on autocracy, which are based on issues that many people know about, films based on the same period demand a degree of credibility – something that Asuran pulled off quite well and Rebel Misses by a mile.

In RebelOn the first day, the Tamil students are shown a huge, multi-storeyed, well-maintained building serving as a hostel, only to be escorted to 'B Hostel', which is a single storey and dilapidated. It makes you wonder whether our neighbors were so cartoonishly discriminatory a few decades ago or whether this filmmaker is overstepping his cinematic freedom. It is difficult to fit yourself in this world where every Malayali is an agenda-driven one-dimensional villain who happily wants Tamilians' lives for breakfast. It is one thing to stand on the side of the victim but it is another thing to portray all the Malayalam speaking characters in the film as oppressors.

A scene from 'Rebel'

A scene from 'Vidrohi' Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

And when they wreak havoc, it's not only hard to watch given the gory details, there's nothing unusual about it. There are scenes of boys attacking a man in a toilet, groups of students fighting among themselves and horrific custodial violence by corrupt policemen. Regardless of gender, Tamil students are stripped, their clothes torn, brutally beaten, called names and even killed. But it has no effect until the hero of our story takes it upon himself and starts a new faction to protect his people. Even if you leave aside the logical question of how easily the establishment and the police sweep them under the carpet, the rise of our revolutionaries is also not particularly entertaining. Like every story of an underdog, Kathir and his friends stop running away and start retaliating against the injustice done to them, but the events that are actually happening don't inspire you to stand by their side. Do it.

The film also reminds us of other titles; The 'Pandi' sequence reminded me of the 'Patti' scene Signature And one particularly disturbing 'cultural' scene reminded one of the famous gang scene Premam, Speaking of which, there's a scene where Kathir and his friends get their vestis taken away because they don't feel like wearing it as “theirs” and the professor who stops the brawl responds with the comment “ragging is normal”. Which inadvertently became a funny moment. Despite the film trying not to make its narrative seem one-sided, it fails miserably on that front and the constant talk about how Malayalam derived from Tamil and comparing the two states with India and Pakistan really helps. Is not available. add to the equation loving-The famous Mamita Baiju, whose Tamil debut mainly required slow-motion shots of her randomly smiling at whatever she sees.

Initially, the technical aspects of Rebel Turned out to be its saving grace; The music, although loud, is quite good and the camera movements were quite interesting. The sets, old buildings and old bikes make the period authentic. But the same technical aspects become unbearable after some time. In one scene, an unnamed character drops a pen and as he bends to pick it up he hears something behind him and the producers use this as a camera roll to give one of many “collective” moments for the lead. Let's use that as an excuse. There are some interesting ideas – like explaining why his new faction's flag has both red and black colors and how parties tend to forget and work against the principles they were formed on – but none of them also doesn't translate into the interesting scenes the film desperately needed. That sense of connection is paramount for films that want us to root for the victims and make us feel happy when they rise against the odds. Without that feeling of connection, Rebel It seems like this is just an excuse to come up with several disturbing scenes so that they tug at your heartstrings, making this film a rebel without a cause.

Rebel is currently playing in theaters

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