Agilan movie review: Jayam Ravi shines in this uneven thriller bogged down by its social message

ByHaricharan Pudipeddi
Mar 10, 2023 06:00 PM IST

Agilan movie review: The Tamil thriller, starring Jayam Ravi, is solely focused on crimes along the coast and gets further bogged down by its own urge to pack in a message.

Jayam Ravi has quite a few films that are worthy of praise for their intentions but not so much for execution. Agilan, his latest release, is a fresh addition to that list. As much as the film wants to be a first-of-its-kind thriller that solely focuses on crimes along the coast, it is bogged down by its own urge to pack in a message. This is what makes Agilan, which is interesting in parts, uneven on the whole. (Also read: Riteish Deshmukh tells Jayam Ravi they ‘need to catch up with our better halves' as he wishes him, Genelia for Ved)

The Tamil action thriller film is directed by Kalyan Krishnan and stars Jayam Ravi.
The Tamil action thriller film is directed by Kalyan Krishnan and stars Jayam Ravi.

Jayam Ravi plays Agilan, who works as a crane operator in the cargo loading section of the harbour. However, he also has his hand in a lot of illegal activities in the port and he has no qualms about it. He’s your go-to guy to get any job done inside the harbour. As Agilan does all the dirty work for a local gang lord, he’s also been quietly planning something on the side which comes to the fore in the second half of the film. Parallelly, Chirag Jani, who plays a port security officer, will stop at nothing till he catches Agilan.

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Agilan, like most Tamil films, isn’t sure what it wants to be. For the entirety of the first half, it presents us a flawed hero, who’s self-centered with no morals. The second half introduces us to an entirely new world where the villainous deeds of the hero are justified. This is forcibly done via a sub-plot about world hunger issues. The need to transform the hero from a grey-shaded character to one that of a messiah sticks out like a sore thumb, especially after Ravi nails the negative part quite convincingly. The sudden tonal shift in the plot, particularly in the second half, is what lets the film down.

Here's a film that could’ve truly tapped into a side of Jayam Ravi that hasn’t been explored before. He could’ve remained a cut-throat criminal till the end and it would’ve really helped the film feel more wholesome. Also, Tamil cinema’s obsession with delivering messages needs to stop. It’s perfectly alright to have a hero with his moral compass not in the right place. As long as the character is interesting, it really doesn’t matter if he’s playing the good or the bad guy.

On the bright side, Agilan manages to suck you into the harbour world very effectively. Having predominantly shot inside a port, one can see the detailing that has gone into the visuals of the film. Jayam Ravi is earnest in a role that could’ve easily ended being his career-best. His efforts fall short because of the character transformation that doesn’t really work in his favour. The hero-villain conflict is another weak aspect of the film and hardly adds any value in making the story interesting.

Director: Kalyan Krishnan

Cast: Jayam Ravi, Chirag Jani, Priya Bhavani Shankar, Hareesh Peradi and Harish Uthaman

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