Movie Review – The Adversary

Posted: April 27, 2014 in Movie Reviews
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Ray has pretty much done everything what every great director have done in their great films much latter. It’s a mix of Bergmans Wild Strawberries, Truffauts’ 400 blows, Buinels Un Chien Andalou and more importantly it was a mix of two great Balachander films Aval Oru Thodarkathai and Varumayin Niram Sigapu. And this one scores above everything and stands at the top of my Rays favorites.

the adversary

The film opens brilliantly showing the death of protagonists’ father in negative, supposed to be the worst phase of Siddhartha. And with it the only other scene in negative is the one where Siddhartha lights the cigarette of a prostitute. Of the many brilliant scenes in the one, this one leading up to the prostitute is the best sequence. It starts of brilliantly with Siddhartha and his friend discussing about various aspects of life. His friend jumping, crossing him a couple of times to get dressed. When he says that he wants to take him to a place. I thought exactly as what Siddhartha thought. I know everyone else would have thought the same too. There was a glimpse of hope as well as relief when he says it’s not what he thinks. But then again takes him to a prostitute. This scene exactly reminded me of Kamals friend who marries a wealthy woman in Varumayin Niram Sivapu.

And when he runs out of the place he gets invited by a woman to fix the house. She repeatedly says that no one is at home. That makes us think that she might be another one like the prostitute before. And the sexual tension exists till he goes out of the place. She’s a real cute girl and so is his sister, sexy rather. The sexual tension when he talks with her sister is even more than that of this scene.

The way he’s torn up between an innocent mother, a rebellious brother, an optimistic (much more than necessary) sister and a unknown thyself he couldn’t come to a conclusion. How he could not answer on his own thought when his friends ask about it and how he doesn’t smoke when he’s in the midst of strangers but takes it when his friends offer were all brilliant sequences.

The scene right after his first interview where he meets a person whom he likes but doesn’t want to get advice from him was one of the brilliantly written scenes. Only a person who hasn’t really got a job and roamed the streets could have written such a splendid scene. These are the scenes that differentiate between Varyumayin Niram Sivapu and this. Kamal is an idealist whereas Siddhartha is a guy who is confused not knowing whether he really is an idealist. Even though both were hard hitting Varumayin Niram Sivapu was much more cinematic whereas here it was totally realistic. The optimism that Varumayin Niram Sivapu gives doesn’t happen here. Through the skeleton near the climax, Ray takes the film to a truly different level.

The only scene which I misread was the first interview scene. May be a noncommunist is supposed to read the scene that way. When he’s asked what’s the most significant thing happened last decade. He thinks a lot and answers Vietnam War. The way he thinks makes us think he’s a pseudo-intellectual. When he says that someday a man landing on the moon was something which he actually visualized. He almost confirms his pseudo intellectuality there. But then when he’s asked again whether he didn’t expect a war in Vietnam he says that he has that with the war he could get to know about the grit of Vietnamese. He started to make some sense. Only when he’s asked whether he’s a communist the scene gives a complete feeling. Whereas in Varumayin Niram Sivapu Kamal walks out heroically saying a Bharathiyar verse. Taking nothing away from the latter. This outcome is what differentiates the two films.

The climax too is a brilliant one where the camera runs past walls covering communist symbol which is very easy to miss. But the final shot gives a positive feel to the film where he hears the song of the birds which he used to hear. He finally is in his own den.


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