Seven Movie Review: A bland thriller that messes with your brains
This moody investigative thriller is undone by a large helping of logical loopholes and an unenthusiastic narrative
Cinematographer Nizar Shafi has turned director with the Telugu-Tamil bilingual Seven (this review is based on the Telugu version), headlined by six women — Regina Cassandra, Nandita Swetha, Poojitha Ponnada, Tridha Choudhury, Anisha Ambrose and Aditi Arya — and it is an investigative thriller that messes with our brains.
There’s an interesting premise at the heart of Seven. It begins with two women — Ramya (Nandita Swetha) and Jenny (Anisha Ambrose) — lodging complaints with the police about their missing husbands. After speaking to them, alcoholic cop, ACP Vijay Prakash (Rahman) conjectures that both of them are looking for the same person, Karthik (Havish). Another woman, Priya (Tridha Choudhury) comes up with a similar missing complaint about her husband and this intensifies Prakash’s resolve to catch Karthik. However, the cops are in for a shock when a mentally ill old man claims that the person they are searching for has died a few years ago.
Director: Nizar Shafi
Cast: Rahman, Regina Cassandra, Nandita Swetha, Havish
Meanwhile, Prakash survives an attempt on his life by Karthik. Refusing to believe his subordinates' theory that Karthik is a spirit/ghost and insisting that he is a fraudster, the ACP makes it his mission to track him down before the victim count increases.
Despite giving us an intriguing plotline, Shafi and writer Ramesh Varma quickly run out of ideas to keep us hooked. The twists in the film unfold a little too lazily. In the second hour, the director turns what could have been a riveting thriller into something quite bland.
The script dallies with themes of obsession, psychopathy and the consequences of one's action, and just when you think you have figured out the twist, the carpet is pulled under your feet to unfold another twist. But despite this, Seven is not a gripping investigative thriller owing to the perfunctory treatment which betrays the rawness in the story. Every dialogue uttered by the characters, especially in the second hour, promises a big reveal, but the performances, sadly, are not up to the mark.
The story does have some unintentionally amusing yet interesting moments. There are echoes of David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and the recurrent nature of the backstory reminds us of several films with reincarnation themes. Yet Seven is nothing like those and never quite succeeds in spooking us, thanks largely due to the excessive melodrama.
Although Nizaf Shafi fails as a director, his cinematography lends an edge-of-the-seat feeling to the proceedings. Chaitan Bharadwaj's songs and score too aid in creating a spooky vibe to an extent.
Regina Cassandra, and the woman who plays her older part, steal the show as far as the performances go. Havish, on the other hand, seems ill-equipped to tackle the role of Karthik, and while he does a decent job in the love scenes, is quite blank in the emotional scenes. He definitely needs to reinvent himself as an actor. Rahman is convincing as the manipulative cop.
All told, Seven is a moody investigative thriller with an unenthusiastic narrative and a lot of logical loopholes that undo the promising build-up of the first half.