Friday, February 5, 2016

Film Review: Ugly (2013)

Ugly (Review)
India/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"As the title states, it is a truly ugly reflection of humanity."

When his 10-year-old daughter vanishes, Rahul (Rahul Baht) spirals into a web of deceit, crime, and violence...

Ugly starts off a bit rough. Off the bat, the film introduces us to a large cast of characters – a husband, an ex-husband, a brother-in-law, a close friend... you get the gist. Fortunately, it does iron out after the rough introduction for a fairly smooth ride. The film primarily follows Rahul after his daughter, Kali, vanishes while he was picking up a script for an audition from his agent, Chaitanya. When she's not immediately found, Rahul is suspected of kidnapping his own daughter by police chief Shoumik Bose (Ronit Roy), who is actually Kali's stepfather as he married Rahul's ex-wife. (You see where it can get a bit complicated, right?) Anyway, when the suspicion surrounding Rahul dwindles, the pair get caught in a web of deceit. Rahul, Shoumik, and the rest of the police force continue searching for Kali, but find nothing. Further muddling the already complicated investigation, certain people begin to take advantage of the kidnapping for their selfish greed – the characters are about as ugly as the title. The film leads to a haunting ending – it leaves a very strong impression.

Aside from the sloppy introduction, Ugly is a fantastic film. As I've said in my previous reviews, I love films that delve into the darker side of humanity – and Ugly digs deep. From its filthy characters to its touchy subject, this film hits hard on every cylinder. You won't love these characters, none of them, but you'll certainly feel something because of this cast. The characters are crafted to leave an 'ugly' impression. The actual crime and mystery are equally fiendish. Thanks to the meticulously crafted the mystery, the film keeps you hooked from its muddled beginning to its appalling finale. It's not a run-and-gun crime thriller, but it also packs in plenty of tension. Through simple dialogue, the film keeps you on edge. If the tension isn't enough, you are sure to get a chuckle from the morbid sense of humor. The black comedy was very funny. It's a film that's crafted to show the ugly side of humanity and it succeeds tenfold. Bravo.

Rahul Baht performs exceptionally well as the leading man. He delivers a very strong performance as the arrogant aspiring actor. Ronit Roy was also fantastic as the egotistical police chief. Really, the entire cast was splendid. This is a noir crime thriller, so, of course, it's oozing with style. The lighting was great and the camerawork was engaging. The film looks grimy, partly due to the environment and partly due to the shooting style. Although I thought the music was a little too strong for the introduction, it did really settle with the rest of the film. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Writer and director Anurag Kashyap crafts a clever and effective crime thriller. Through its deep characters, dark themes, and uncompromising direction, Kashyap delivers an unforgettable cinematic experience.

Overall, Ugly is a fantastic film. As the title states, it is a truly ugly reflection of humanity. It's tense, mysterious, violent, appalling, and, yes, even stylish. The film leaves a lasting impression thanks to its uncompromising writing and direction. (Okay, there was one compromise; the little message at the
bottom-right side of the screen during smoking scenes.) If you love dark crime thrillers, this one is for you.

Score: 9/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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