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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Walter movie review: Unremittingly dull

Walter movie review: Sibiraj fails to make this poorly-written script watchable.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5
Written by S Subhakeerthana | Chennai | Published: March 13, 2020 6:18:01 pm
Walter movie review Walter movie review: The trailer of Walter promised so much, but the film delivers little.

Walter movie cast: Sibi Sathyaraj, Samuthirakani, Natarajan Subramaniam, Shirin Kanchwala
Walter movie director: Anbarasan
Walter movie rating: 1.5 stars

Expectations were high from this Sibi-starrer as the film was named after his father Sathyaraj’s blockbuster, Walter Vetrivel (1993). (Don’t worry, there are no similarities between both.) Though Walter begins on a promising note, it turns out to be a crushing disappointment. Babies go missing from different government hospitals, and ACP Walter (Sibi) is on a mission to nab the suspects. No, this is not all. You get the story of the Health Minister Eswara Moorthy (Bava Chelladurai), and how he is involved in the racket. This is not all, again. You are shown the story of Eswara Moorthy’s aide Balu (Samuthirakani), and his friend Arjun (Natarajan Subramaniam). There are no prizes for guessing who is the connecting thread between these characters… Walter!

The writing is utterly confusing, and the film is fairly predictable. This has so much to do with the lazily-written one-note characters. The main story lacks conflicts or thrilling elements that pulls one in. The lack of a solid script makes Walter, a dampener.

Further, this Anbarasan-directorial bites more than it can chew. Though Walter is shown as a no-nonsense cop, he has a super dumb girlfriend, who nags him to be with her all the time. She gets upset when he is not around. First of all, a ‘serious’ film like Walter need not have duets, but we get two awfully-choreographed numbers. A well-written commercial film can do away with duets and still make for a compelling watch. Take Kaithi for instance. Without a conventional female lead, Lokesh Kanagaraj managed to keep the audience engaged for 140-something minutes. (I understand Anbarasan isn’t Lokesh and Sibi isn’t Karthi, but still.)

The “twists”, seemingly packaged as “suspense”, makes you hang on to see where Walter is headed, but the execution falters. Random scenes follow each other. When Eswara Moorthy, in the beginning, says, “En saava naan thaan decide pannuven”, you know it is going to be the exact opposite.

The trailer of Walter promised so much, but the film delivers little. The characters aren’t completely convincing. They are distant from what we generally perceive to be ‘authentic cinema’. Truth be told, cinematically, the premise of Walter is a terrific space to be in— if only Anbarasan could have explored it with intelligence and some charm. The filmmaker introduces us to a “rare blood group” concept, which I found interesting. And, for a thriller, this can work. Actually, there’s a potential for a decent story. Since the screenplay is convoluted, nothing quite helps.

The cinematographer seems to have left no stone unturned to ensure the actors look good in every frame, but that’s not enough. My biggest grouse with Walter is the pace of the plot. Like many television soaps, it chugs along and then, before you know it, it’s all over. I suggest that Anbarasan watches Thani Oruvan, at least, twice to understand the premise of a medical thriller, and how a director stages the entire film.

Towards the climax, some character says, “Inga enna nadakkudhu… onnume puriya maatengudhu!” (What’s happening here? I understand nothing). You can safely assume this was my ‘mind voice’, too.

Here is a bit of trivia: Natarajan Subramaniam’s role was originally written for Gautham Menon, it seems. I am so glad he opted out of this underwhelming film.

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