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‘Sonchiriya’ review: The Die is Caste

Reading Time: 4 minutes Set in the roiling year of Emergency in India, ‘Sonchiriya’ takes a long, steady, unnerving, and deadly look at caste and gender suppression down the barrel of a smoking gun, making it one of 2019’s best.

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‘Badla’ review: The Story’s in the Details

Reading Time: 4 minutes Director Sujoy Ghosh lays out a detailed, conversational thriller that’s high on the quality of ingredients, even if the flavors are all too familiar and predictable. But the point of ‘Badla’ isn’t to surprise you as much as it is to make you pay attention and revel in the atmosphere. Plus, of course the top notch acting that rivets, diverts, and then delivers a climactic scene that’s more heartbreaking triumph than a twist.

‘Baazaar’ review: Bland Stock Exchange

Reading Time: 3 minutes Director Gauravv K Chawla and his writing team create a stock market story that’s more stock than shock, letting you and their actors down with the velocity of a plunging economy. If there’s anything here that props up your interest, it’s Saif Ali Khan’s valiant act.

‘Sacred Games’ review: Buntings and Bubbly

Reading Time: 6 minutes Directors Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane whip up a fantastic first season for Netflix’s original content debut in India. Dividing the story-telling into two tracks, they add layers of conflicted and murderous characters who clash and collide, sparking off intense drama and hard-to-look-from away scenes. The action’s intense, the notes are grungy and the suspense an undercurrent to the main arc: the boiling cauldron of religion, politics, and power. Add to it an all-round superlative cast and an anxious background score, and you have a bloody winner.

‘All the Money in the World’ review: Getty Disturbing Images

Reading Time: 5 minutes Director Scott and cinematographer Dariusz Wolski paint the screen with tones of tension, shades of noir, and ratchet up the heartbeat that much more. But the best lighting and atmospherics is when Getty is onscreen, the shades dark, temporally lonely, and enveloped in an impermeable wrap of green-bags and isolation. Actor Christopher Plummer lends an air of imperiousness that’s impenetrable and sometimes unfathomable – and you know he’s hiding an uneasy past all through for his character. That somehow, tragically, also justifies his own manic obsessiveness with money, estate, paintings, and deals.

‘Murder on the Orient Express’ review: Standard Gauge

Reading Time: 5 minutes The director fails to capture the stifling, terrorizing claustrophobia of the coach, making it look all very simple and straight-forward. Even the top shots inside the carriages that he shoots are more distracting, taking an almost detached view of the goings-on below, you wondering what to make of all the heads you see. With the result, the breathtaking scenery is memorable, the mystery less so. Is that why the denouement, weak by any detective movie standards, takes place outside the train – all the passengers lined up on chairs, as if guests of honor at a valedictory event – instead of inside of the dining car, where the tension in the book and the 1974 movie was unbearable?

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