Run Baby Run Movie Review: Solid making glosses over the loopholes
The brilliant first half compels us to be kinder with the setbacks in the latter half
Jiyen Krishnakumar's Run Baby Run wastes no time in setting the mood right for the audience. From the word, 'go', the film places us in the shoes of the protagonist Sathya. We see the crime happen through his eyes and also unravel the mystery along with him. It doesn't take us a lot of time to root for the lead character as he is vulnerable enough to be framed but smart enough to get away from it. When I say smart, it doesn't translate to photographic memory or super spy skills, but the impressive damage control he does throughout. Interestingly, the first half of the film concentrates solely on how Sathya (RJ Balaji) does away with a dead body. The focus of the audience is unwaveringly set on him as his want is very clear and personal. He has one night to dispose of the corpse and get his hands clean. This simple yet effective premise is ably supported by the technical crew — cinematographer S Yuva, editor G Madhan and composer Sam CS — who work in unison and do a brilliant job in animating the tension surrounding that night.
Director: Jiyen Krishnakumar
Cast: RJ Balaji, Aishwarya Rajesh, George Mariam, Tamizh
With Run Baby Run hitting the ground running with well-orchestrated and grounded scenes, it is a tad disappointing that the film has a tonal shift post the interval. The 'how did he get away with the murder?' angle changes to an 'every character is a suspect' narrative. The intrigue brought to the table by the groundedness so far gets dampened by the force-fit twists in the second half of the film.
If you are the kind that loves red herrings, regardless of their pay-off, the latter portions of Run Baby Run are a treasure trove. Almost all the knots that keep adding up throughout are untangled in the last few minutes of the film, with a customary walk-through monologue by the protagonist. These writing choices aren't entirely blasphemous but without a doubt, they feel inferior to the standard the film set for itself initially.
Though the screenplay goes through a tonal shift, the performances continue to be restrained. This conscious decision of the filmmaker works in favour of the film as it keeps our attention anchored on the characters despite the randomness in the storytelling.
RJ Balaji, who was considered to be the oddest addition to this true-blue thriller, gets the meatiest role in his career and he shoulders it quite convincingly. Sathya, the soft-spoken restrained banker who gets caught in a web of crime, sounds like a tailor-made role for someone like Arulnithi. Balaji, very much like Arulnithi, is a limited yet self-aware actor. In his first full-fledged serious script, Balaji cleverly chooses a role that demands him to be subdued for most of the runtime. While we see Balaji labour through emotional scenes, especially while sharing the screen with veterans like Radikaa, there are clear signs of progress. I also liked how his action scenes don't position him as a saviour, but as a man of wit who chooses defence any day and is extremely observant of his surroundings.
Aishwarya Rajesh, who was positioned as one of the leads of the film, actually does an extended cameo. Despite her brief appearance as Thara, the story revolves around her character and very soon we realise why the film demanded a performer like her.
As with most thrillers, Run Baby Run also has its share of cinematic liberties and loopholes. But the one that sticks out is Thara and Sathya almost pulling off a Theri Vijay by revealing their plans and secrets to the antagonist.
The film which starts as a single person's quest to return to normalcy tries hard to end as a battle for a social cause. The message Run Baby Run conveys isn't novel either as there have been a couple of films made in the recent past based on the same issue. I believe the best statement a good film can make to the audience is simply not making one and staying true to its original flavour.