Super Deluxe Review (No Spoilers): Everything is Connected and Everything is Broken

Out of all the movies in the world, I picked this one. Because it started at 7pm, unlike all the other movies I wanted to watch which started at 10pm. It was fate!

Well, hmm. This is one of those movies where I was spending the whole time thinking “is this actually clever? or is it just that we aren’t used to seeing this kind of movie from India?” This time, I think it is actually clever. Fails at the ending, but then it is hard to land the ending of this kind of film, finding the proper balance between dark and comedy. But about 80% of the film is just perfect, 10% is pretty good, and therefore I can live with the remaining 10% that is just plain stupid.
Image result for super deluxe tamil poster

Unsurprisingly, the part with Vijay Sethupathi was 100% perfect. It works perfectly as a beautiful little short film, I want to see a version that is edited to be just that. The part with Fahadh Faasil and Samantha is mostly perfect, and then wobbles a bit. The part with Ramya Krishnan never really picks up steam for me. The part with the child actors is great, and then totally fails right at the end. That’s how these multi-story films work sometimes, it feels like the writer didn’t have quite enough for a full story for any of them, and so kind of threw in the good ideas he had and faked the bits where he had no idea. But this film has so many really good ideas that I can forgive the bad ones.

The overall idea is a good one, that the systems in India are broken and the people would rather focus on their own small issues than the greater systemic problems. Corrupt police and a failed justice system, a broken medical system, and a destructively unhealthy attitude towards sexuality. That is what ties all these stories together, that they all show the flaws of India today. And it’s not like the writer had to work to make that connection, it’s right there in front of us, all of these people trapped in situations beyond their control because when the littlest thing goes wrong, the world will jump on them and make it worse.

The level to which the world jumps on them is a little uneven story to story. Just generally the tone is a little uneven story to story. That is mostly okay, with a film like this you can mix in the sincere stories with the funny silly ones. But the problem comes up when within the same stories the tone changes too much scene to scene. In Vijay Sethupathi’s story, the lighthearted ending is out of tone with the very serious and tragic other sections. In Fahadh Faazil’s story, the penultimate sequence is so disturbing it is hard to make it fit with the light-hearted earlier sections of the story. A rising and falling tone is good within a narrative, makes us keep watching, but you can’t go from black to white that dramatically and expect the audience not to get whiplash.

None of that takes away from the moments of brilliance though. That’s the nice thing about the multi-story structure, even if one story is weak, I can still appreciate the unconnected other story that is perfect. Really, the Vijay Sethupathi story is just an exquisite tiny little gem of a tale.

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9 thoughts on “Super Deluxe Review (No Spoilers): Everything is Connected and Everything is Broken

  1. I love your blog and how you stay calm and not affected in your reviews. Last two days I have been reading so much about Super Deluxe, and everybody (but really everybody) was praising the movie saying it’s perfect and all the actors can now reitre because they were too good etc. I was wondering if it’s really that good or it’s just people who are too excited.

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    • Really? It definitely wasn’t that good. Vijay Sethupathi was great, but his performance was as good as I saw him do in Vikram-Vedha. Fahadh was good, but I think he was better (certainly less showy) in the gold chain movie. Weird thing to say, but I think Samantha was better in Eega?

      Anyway, a good movie, but not perfect, they should all keep trying.

      On Sun, Mar 31, 2019 at 4:08 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. I haven’t seen this movie but the Tamil cinephiles(and a larger set of south Indian crowd) are very very excited about it. From what I read,there are lot of cultural references thrown in via old Tamil songs playing in the background,posters, writing on the wall etc which a non-Tamil viewer may not get. There are also apparently plenty of references to the director’s first film Aranyakandam (that was indeed a cool watch). The discussion thread under Baradwaj Rangan’s review is just exploding. What I am also getting is that it’s also one of the rarest Indian movie that deals with sexuality and morality so explicitly & mainstream actors picking up such roles. So there’s all that shock factor and novelty at work along with some references to world cinema the names of which I haven’t even heard. So all in all it’s this month’s ‘best Indian movie of the decade’. Last month it was ‘Gully Boy’.I am hoping to watch it tomorrow.

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    • I got a few of the references, but I know I was missing a lot of stuff. Even so, I still think it wasn’t a perfect film. Very very good, but not best ever. Just stuff like certain scenes towards the end felt like they went on too long and drained the energy out of it, I don’t think that is cultural, I think that is just the film feeling too long in certain parts. I also realized on the drive home that it felt a lot like Pulp Fiction. Which isn’t to say it is a rip off or anything, just that it isn’t 100% groundbreaking, because Pulp Fiction was the 100% groundbreaking version.

      Anyway, excited to hear what you think!

      On Sun, Mar 31, 2019 at 11:32 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Yep,saw few balanced reviews that said the second half and the ending in particular was too indulgent and long. My plan is still dicey. I prefer to watch such movies in the comfort of home since it runs the risk of me being clueless, getting bored & disliking it. I would rather spend that time & effort going to theater to watch Dumbo with my little guy.That sure looks something we would both enjoy.

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        • Oh thank goodness! When every other review disagrees with me, I start to doubt myself. Unless it’s Sanju, that’s just a terrible terrible movie and no amount of good reviews will convince me otherwise.

          Dumbo looks so dark! It might be too scary for me, your little guy must be very brave. Of course, animated Dumbo was too scary for me too, my Mom always had to fast-forward the drunk song part. You could see Notebook instead, if his Hindi is strong. So many cute kids doing cute things in that!

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    • If so, that doesn’t seem right. I have seen hardly any Tamil movies, but I would still give Vikram-Vedha and 96, and pretty much anything Gautham Menon the same rating as this film.

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