Trisha Illana Nayanthara and Anbanavan Asaradhavan Adangadhavan are the two movies by Adhik Ravichandran I have seen. That filmography is something that never really gives you a sense of optimism. In his new film Mark Antony, starring Vishal and SJ Suryah, craft-wise, Adhik is very much in the same tacky space. But the smartness with which he explores the concept, along with an incredible SJ Suryah, makes Mark Antony a pleasing, fun film with a spoofy tone.
So, the film revolves around a phone that acts as a time machine. It can help people talk to people in the past and thus fix or mess up their present. Mark Antony, the son of a gangster named Antony, gets this phone. In the film, we see the events that unfold when Mark decides to use the phone to talk to his father and mother, who died years ago. How the whole event changes many things that Mark believed is what we see in the film Mark Antony.
SPOILER ALERT! It is no Christopher Nolan film that explores the concept of time traveling with the help of science. And Adhik sets that tone very early in the movie. But the chaos and cluttered comedy we see in Adhik’s films is there in how scenes are executed. The fascinating part of the movie is the interval block where the antagonist, SJ Suryah, reveals his true intentions, and the power dynamic flips. That interval scene opens up the idea to the viewer. The second half of the movie is an SJ Suryah show. The concept was getting overstretched by Adhik for the sake of comedy, and SJ Suryah just owned those scenes and saved the movie.
The performance of Vishal in the climax of the movie is impressive. As the younger versions of both the son and the father, the actor is kind of stiff in handling the comedy. As I already said, the movie’s real star is SJ Suryah, especially in the second half. There is a sequence in the second half where the son from 1995 is advising the father from 1975 to kill the hero so that he can live a gangster life in the future. The performance of SJ Suryah in that whole sequence and several scenes that followed were impeccable, and the entire audience laughed out loud. If you take out SJ Suryah from that scene and replace him with any other actor, I don’t think the scene will have the same charm. As the female lead, Ritu Varma has nothing much to contribute to the film. Selvaraghavan, as the time machine maker Chiranjeevi (clever naming), was fun to watch. Redin Kingsley, as the sidekick shouts. Sunil, as Ekambaram, gets a fairly interesting role with multiple shades.
The core concept and how they used it to build comical interpretations are pretty smart. But the loud comedy at times is reducing the glow of the smartness of the writing. Venkat Prabhu’s Maanadu was one of the recent films that used the time travel concept in an entertaining format. While that movie was focused and invested in the core concept, here, the attempt to marry the idea with the typical mass masala format is sort of taking the film to a space that isn’t fresh. The songs are forcefully included, and the set pieces are wannabe versions of KGF and Thallumala. The cinematography by Abinandhan Ramanujam and the production design of the movie use these saturated colors to enhance the fantasy mood of the film. The fast-paced cuts in the initial areas of the movie are pretty annoying. But some of the match cuts in the second half were impressive.
Adhik Ravichandran’s Mark Antony isn’t a perfect film. There are areas that you will find difficult to sit through. But the compromises and broad-stroke narrative issues get forgotten when SJ Suryah unleashes himself in the movie’s second half. I wouldn’t say I was a huge fan of Mark Antony. Frankly, it hasn’t instilled any faith in me in Adhik Ravichandran’s directional ability. The movie may or may not age well, but SJ Suryah’s performance in this movie will be celebrated for a really long time.
The movie may or may not age well, but SJ Suryah's performance in this movie will be celebrated for a really long time.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended