A Historical past of Violence.
A violent previous. A sabbatical, both compelled or by alternative. A set off. After which, the return. This template in Indian cinema is now as outdated because the trade itself.
To his credit score, Lokesh Kanagaraj admits on the outset that his Vijay-starrer Leo is ‘impressed’ by A Historical past of Violence – a graphic novel within the Nineteen Nineties, which was tailored right into a Hollywood thriller by David Cronenberg in 2005. Discuss of inspiring generations! Throw in a household within the midst, and also you suppose you’ve got the proper recipe—for a catastrophe or a masterpiece.
Kanagaraj had whipped up blockbusters with an analogous recipe in 2019 – Karthi-starrer Kaithi – and in 2022 – Kamal Haasan-starrer Vikram. Leo is the third installment within the now-famous Lokesh Cinematic Universe (LCU). The canvas has been increasing with every movie, with Leo setting the stage for, in all probability, the grand finale.
However, how do you make it massive? By bringing in additional large names? By weaving in additional drama? By multiplying violence and bloodshed? Kanagaraj does these all in Leo, however nonetheless falls wanting participating the viewers the way in which he did in Kaithi or Vikram. A narrative of substance appears to be the key ingredient lacking in his recipe this time round.
With names as large as Sanjay Dutt, Arjun, Trisha, together with none apart from ‘Thalapathy Vijay’, ought to have assured an edge-of-the-seat thriller. As an alternative, what we get is a string of violent and bloody albeit well-choreographed battle scenes, interspersed with doses of lukewarm household drama. The mantra these days appears to be extra the blood and gore, extra the frenzy and mass attraction.
There are others like Anurag Kashyap and Madonna Sebastian in blink-and-you-miss roles. Many of the character constructing appears compelled. As does the LCU hyperlink.
Vijay, although, shines. As café proprietor Parthiban and Leo Das. It’s nothing that he hasn’t performed earlier, however his depth and power must be applauded. Within the midst of chopping and bashing the goons, there are situations, the place Vijay lets his feelings do the speaking. The start of the second half is nearly a tribute to the classic Vijay, which can thrill his die-hard followers. Anirudh Ravichander’s beats deal with that.
Arjun, as Harold Das, stands out within the restricted display time he will get. His swag and punches are a delight to look at. This when he’s rubbing shoulders with the King of Swag, Dutt. However the Bollywood star is generally wasted within the one-man present. Trisha, however, will get a meatier function, however is resigned to taking part in the perennial spouse in misery, ready for her husband to avoid wasting her.
Leo might be the weakest movie within the LCU. Regardless of the extremely stylised motion sequences, the clichés within the script show to be its greatest obstacles. Nothing good ever comes of violence, it’s mentioned. Touché.
Director: Lokesh Kanagaraj
Solid: Vijay, Trisha, Sanjay Dutt, Arjun, Gautham Vasudev Menon