A fearless gangster maneuver between rival criminals in the dazzling drama “Jagme Thandiram”. film (on netflix) follows Suruli (Dhanush), whose ruthless murders invite him to serve under a wealthy British noble. Attracted by a sizable payday in pounds, Suruli upends his life from Madurai to London and assures his new boss Peter (James Cosmo) that no task is too low.
There’s plenty of gore, but the methods of violence are sharply different. We see men and one woman die from gunshots, blows, car explosions and shovel to the head – all within the first 15 minutes. The story becomes more engaging when Suruli learns that her London assignment will focus on Peter’s enemy, Tamil crime lord Shivadas (Joju George). Plus, Suruli’s developing romance with local singer Attila (Aishwarya Lakshmi) helps balance the endless shootout.
Director Karthik Subbaraj, who also wrote the screenplay, elevates the antics of ordinary crime by drawing attention to language, and how it can be used as a weapon or unity. Suruli and Peter rely on a translator to communicate, though often the only vowels – or “yes or no” ultimatums – that carry meaning. In contrast, Suruli’s encounter with Sivadas’ gang draws on the nuances of their shared Tamil language and culture.
Yet for the most part, the bloody action dominates. A subplot relating to immigration law is over-simplified, and Suruli’s arc to become a semi-good man seems questionable in view of his incredible recklessness and cruelty. Some moments feel fresh, but the film’s patterns are familiar: plan, slaughter, repeat.
not evaluated. In Tamil, with subtitles. Running time: 2 hours 37 minutes. watch on netflix.