At the end of the film Michael, they have shown the filmography that has inspired director Ranjith Jeyakodi to make this Sudeep Kishan film. And the list includes Nayakan, John Wick, Leon: The Professional, and Amitabh Bachchan’s Deewar. While the style factor makes it look like a technically solid film that almost looks like a cousin of KGF, Jeyakodi hasn’t really managed to crack a compelling narrative style similar to the movies he took as a reference.
Michael, our hero, came to Mumbai at a very young age. By saving the life of the don of Mumbai, Gurunath, he starts off his gangster life. He gradually becomes the most trusted man of Gurunath. At one point, Gurunath entrusts Michale with a mission to kill a man named Rathan, who planned to kill Gurunath, and that man’s daughter Theera was the bate. But Michael falling in love with her changes the whole thing. What happens between Michael and Gurunath after that is what we witness in this Sudeep Kishan starrer.
The movie’s visual aesthetic is very impressive, and there isn’t a moment you would feel they have shot it lazily. But the writing is fragile when it comes to creating drama. And for a large chunk of its runtime, they are somewhat skipping through events so that Vijay Sethupathi’s character can eventually narrate the backstory of this grumpy Michael. There is a scene in the film where Gurunath tells his son Amarnath that he might not be able to save Amarnath from Michael (Yes, The John Wick scene). How that exposition worked for something like John Wick and how a similarly lit and framed shot in Michael fell flat somewhere explains the weak writing of this film.
The action film doesn’t demand too much expression from Sudeep Kishan, and he conveys the character’s anger neatly. Even the way he conveyed Michael’s love for Theera was also lovely, considering the subtlety. Gautham Vasudev Menon as the main antagonist Gurunath looked tough. But his dialog delivery looked a bit comical, especially in angrier portions. Divyansha Kaushik had that intensity in her eyes to make us feel that someone like Michael might fall for her. Vijay Sethupathi, who appears in an extended cameo for some heavily stylized action sequences in that salt n pepper look, was a delight to watch. It was almost like the movie woke up from a nap when his character entered the film.
As I said, Ranjit Jeyakodi’s efforts to create his own Rocky Bhai using all his favorite gangster/hitman films are struggling to hold the viewer’s interest. The masala in the movie somewhere lacked conviction. I would say Michael is a great example of a flawed gangster film with great visuals but flat writing. The way things are revealed never excites you. How the past is shown in the film’s last act actually looked slightly more interesting compared to the rest of the film. But by the time it reaches that point, we are no longer interested in the movie, and the new packaging of the old-school revenge wasn’t enough to reinstate that lost interest. Kiran Koushik manages to get the mood Jeyakodi wants to have through the color-saturated frames with many blacks. But the edit, even on a script level, is not compelling.
Many movies are trying to emulate the style of KGF to get that kind of success. Ranjit Jeyakodi definitely has a vision for his film’s visual grammar and drama placement. But the writing, which is the crucial aspect of any film, regardless of the audience it wants to cater to, is feeble in the case of Michael. Thus the stylized action was not enough to save the movie.
While the style factor makes it look like a technically solid film that almost looks like a cousin of KGF, Jeyakodi hasn't really managed to crack a compelling narrative style.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended