REVIEW: Naane Varuvean – A fascinating start to a flat finish with no surprises

The movie begins by telling the story of two twin brothers, ‘Kathir’ and ‘Prabhu,’ their characters on the surface, and sets up the premise required. One is innocent, while the other is evil with psychological issues, and, as you may assume, they grow apart as adults. The rest of the story is about the events that bring them together again and the drastic life changes that happen to them.

The first half of the movie, which explores Prabhu’s life and the supernatural events surrounding his daughter, Sathya, is easily the best part of the film. The spooky scenes, while similar to popular horror movies in Hollywood, are perfectly staged and gripping. The scenes portraying the possession of a body by a soul are fresh and unique in Tamil cinema and noteworthy.

The introduction of Kathir will undoubtedly go down as one of Dhanush’s best goosebumps moments. However, as the story unfolds to the climax, the plot becomes more linear and most of the scenes become less interesting. In the second half of the movie, Dhanush as Prabhu ends up going on a mission, and as an audience, we expect some twists and turns or at the very least to be engaging, but neither of these things happen. When two major characters with very unique arcs finally meet, it is expected to be the high point of the film, but the scenes were very bland.

Dhanush as Kathir and Prabhu is as brilliant as he always is. But Kathir takes it a step further, bringing in the evil with some fantastic expressions and attitude. He is both evil and terrifying. Another notable performance is that of Hiya Davey as Sathya, who fits in so well and effortlessly transfers fear to the audience. The character is well written because she is mature in understanding what is going on around her, which lessens the cliche of such characters being unaware and confused.

Om Prakash’s cinematography perfectly captured the beauty and creepiness of the forests; special applause for the staging and execution of the Ghostbusters scenes. Needless to say, Yuvan Shankar Raja’s brilliance and the always-hyped combination of Yuvan and Selvaraghavan delivered yet again.

Though the detailing of Prabhu and Kathir’s character arcs as children is only at the surface level, Kathir’s character is sufficiently portrayed with enough scenes for us to understand, yet Kathir’s self reasoning for his violence and evilness is repetitive and cliche. Even though the movie begins with a hint of a spooky horror and gradually becomes more normal as it progresses into the second half, it ends with much less excitement.