3:33 Movie Review: Sandy makes a confident start with this decent thriller
3:33 starts strongly and ends on an even stronger note, and in between, we have a mix-match of genres and the effectiveness of it is like a sine curve
If Maanaadu’s Dhanushkodi was part of the 3:33 universe, he’d have surely gone, “Kanavu Kaandraan, ezhundhukkaraan, bayappadraaan, Repeat…” And it would have been a succinct way of putting to words the plight of Kathir (Sandy Master) in director Nambikkai Chandru’s psychological thriller, 3:33. It is interesting how there are no time-loop films for decades together in Tamil cinema, and once the floodgate opened, 3:33 is the third such film experimenting with that genre this past month. However, the ingenuity of having a particular moment in time be on a loop works in favour of the film. It is the time 3:33 that is the ominous number that sends Kathir’s world into quite a tizzy.
Cast: Sandy Master, Gautham Menon, Reshma, Rama, Mime Gopi
Director: Nambikkai Chandru
Kathir moves into a new place with his family, and almost immediately bad things happen to him and the people around him. This tension is built up with some impressive ideas that might not have translated seamlessly on screen, but the rawness of the visuals add to the mood of the film. But not all these writing choices work since there is no cohesion to certain plot points. For instance, there is no straightforward answer as to why the “time” decided to strike at that particular moment in Kathir’s life. Also, initially, the film leaves us intentionally confused if it is a paranormal thriller or a psychological thriller. However, this choice works in the film’s favour because it gives us some intriguing sequences that, unfortunately, misses that sting when we are given clarity about the genre.
Made with a limited budget, and a minimal setup, 3:33 does come with its share of flaws. However, some scenes work despite the limitations, especially the standout sequence in the dark featuring an impressive Sandy. Since this is a chamber drama of sorts that is set in a single two-storeyed house, a sense of repetition sets in. The generic nature of certain jump scares add to the predictability. The borderline caricaturish portions by some of the supporting cast act as a downer. However, the final act and Sandy’s confident turn as the lead hero lends a lot of credibility to 3:33.
Just like his Bigg Boss friend Kavin, Sandy too takes the horror-psychological thriller route to establish his space in the lead hero space. In fact, with the presence of actors Saravanan and Reshma Pasupuleti, 3:33 might give a Bigg Boss Tamil season 3 reunion vibes, but points to the filmmaker for reining in the urge to use now-famous one-liners from that show. In fact, Chandru avoids tapping into the fun side of Sandy and portrays him as this extremely grim figure. This works tremendously in the film’s favour, especially in the final few moments of 3:33 that might feel predictable for some but is supremely effective nonetheless.
3:33 starts strongly and ends on an even stronger note, and in between, we have a mix-match of genres and the effectiveness of it is like a sine curve. However, the highs it hits is more impressive than the lows it falls, and 3:33 definitely ends up as one of the better additions to the burgeoning list of horror/psychological thrillers in Tamil cinema.