Captain Miller review: Dhanush brings a well-crafted revolutionary tale - Hindustan Times
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Captain Miller review: Dhanush, Arun Matheshwaran bring a well-crafted revolutionary tale

Jan 12, 2024 01:15 PM IST

Captain Miller review: Arun Matheshwaran's period action film is an all-out Dhanush show and spectacle.

Dhanush always has the ability to surprise you with every film of his not just through his performance but his choice of stories as well. Captain Miller sees the Tamil star teaming up with Arun Matheshwaran in the director’s third film.

Captain Miller movie review: Dhanush in a still from the movie.
Captain Miller movie review: Dhanush in a still from the movie.

What is the plot?

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The movie is set in pre-Independence India during British rule and as it begins, we see Analeesan aka Issa aka Captain Miller’s (Dhanush) mother narrating the story of their 600-year-old local Shiva temple where Ayyanar Koranar’s statue was secretly buried. She narrates how the lands around the temple were gifted to the local tribals when the temple was built but they were not allowed entry into it by the kings ruling the area because of caste and social discrimination.

Issa idles away in the village after his mother dies while his elder brother Sengola (Shiva Rajkimar) is part of the Independence movement. It is when he gets into a confrontation with the villagers and they ask to leave, that Issa decides to join the British-India army to gain ‘respect’.

Though Sengola dissuades him from this, Issa goes ahead and his fate changes. Christened Miller by the British army, Issa is part of the battalion that indulges in a horrendous attack against local protesters. Traumatised, Issa quits the army and turns into the revolutionary, Captain Miller. What happened to Issa? What is his motivation? Who and what is he fighting for?

The inspired atmosphere

Director Arun Matheswaran’s films feature violence as a strong element and Captain Miller, too, has its share of killings and fights given its setting of pre-Independence India and theme of social injustice and fight for freedom. There are many Tarantino-esque shades interspersed throughout the film - for instance, the film is divided into chapters; the sword fight in the second half reminds us of Kill Bill; and there is a look and feel of a Western in numerous scenes. The character arc of Issa and how he changes from a village tribal to a feared revolutionary has been well-etched out by the director, as is the story.

While in the first half of the film we see Issa change for selfish reasons, it is in the second where he truly finds a larger purpose and pursues his goal aggressively for the sake of his village. Matheshwaran has a distinct narrative style, and his writing and screenplay are not rushed. But this slows down the film, especially in the first half. In the second half, the pace really picks up and Captain Miller charges on, all guns blazing.

Captain Dhanush

When it comes to performances, Captain Miller is a Dhanush film all the way. The Tamil star’s ability to hold the audience’s attention is well-known and he doesn’t disappoint as Issa aka Captain Miller. The actor has lived the role one must say. Though Shiva Rajkumar’s role may be a cameo, it is a superb one and he makes quite an impact in it. Priyanka Mohan’s role is not a major one and she doesn’t have too much to do but it helps carry the story forward.

With regard to the technical aspects, music director GV Prakash Kumar’s BGM and Killer Killer song really elevate the film and this is one of the highlights of the movie. Combining different music styles keeping in tune with the director’s style of filmmaking, GV has more than delivered on this project. Siddhartha Nuni’s cinematography is another plus as well.

The bottomline is that Captain Miller is a highly-engaging - but different - must-watch film this Sankranti. Interestingly, the movie ends with a sure hint of a sequel in the works.

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