Kempe Gowda (Kannada)
Kempe Gowda is a typical "cops and robbers" film from Indian cinema. But Kicha Sudeep brings together excellent production values and powerful performances to make for entertaining cinema.
Based on the Tamil film Surya-starrer Singam, we see police officer Kempe Gowda (Sudeep) taking on the powerful underworld don Arumugham (Ravishankar). Backing him every step is the lady he loves (Ragini Dwivedi).
The highlight of this film is Sudeep’s performance as he breathes fire and power into his role. It’s hard to find a single frame where he’s not in character, and this gives the film its credibility. Ravishankar matches him every step of the way, giving the film its dramatic moments.
The main cast is also ably supported by a veteran cast that includes Girish Karnad, Tara, and Ashok.
An element of light heartedness is masterfully brought in at the right moments with Sharan’s comedy and the romantic element in the film. It is the perfect control of these three elements, along with the film’s high production values, that gives Sudeep his triumph as a director.
Arjun’s music provides another dimension to the film. While the earlier songs in the film are traditional, Hale Radio provides an interesting fusion.
I would go with a rating of 3 stars for this film. It raises the bar for films that fall under a similar genre for Kannada cinema. Besides, Sudeep fans will not be disappointed.
The Fighter (English)
For years now Hollywood’s "boxing" films had lost their sting. But the genre returns with a bang with David Russel’s The Fighter.
Way back in 2007, Mark Wahlberg, who stars in the film was quoted saying in an interview on About.com, ""I’ve seen every boxing movie ever made. I’m also a huge fight fan. I fought a little bit when I was younger. Nobody in my opinion, and some of the greatest movies ever made – you talk Raging Bull and Rocky I saw 30 times – but the fighting just wasn’t as realistic as what we hope to achieve and accomplish in this movie." The Fighter lives up to all of this and more.
Based on the true life story of professional boxer "Irish" Mickey Ward, the film tells the story of Mickey’s (Mark Wahlberg) journey to win the WBU Light Welterweight title. Yet at stake is not only the title, it is also restoration for his brother Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale) whose fading star as a promising boxer further mires myself in desperate cocaine dependency, and his domineering mother Alice Ward (Melissa Leo) who dotes on Dicky.
Yet The Fighter is not just a boxing story. It is also a story of dysfunctional families and the hopes, dreams and underpinnings of a boxer. Why are families sometimes such a twisted knot of complicated connections? Who do the greatest shining stars lose their way, rising and falling with searingly painful meteoric abruptness? It’s a film that exists at many levels, and it is a true tribute to the telling of this tale that you never quite know how this story will end.
Finally, the strength of the script and direction is also marked by powerful performances. Mark Wahlberg holds our attention as Mickey Ward. But this film clearly belongs to Christian Bale, who owns the part of Dicky Ward. Christian, who also had to lose weight to look the part, leaves behind his famous role of the avenging Batman with ease. Now he will not save, instead he must be saved Melissa Leo also makes for a very credible Alice Ward. The Oscar for Best Supporting Actor to both these performers was clearly well deserved.
It’s a rating of 4 stars for The Fighter – a realistic boxing film, which drapes fighting action within layers of complexity.
The ratings and what they mean
The ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5 and try to strike that difficult balance between cinematic critique and giving the regular film buff a peek into what’s playing in town and worth a watch.
- 1: Watch this film only if the director pays you
- 2: You could safely give this film a miss
- 2.5: A one-time watch
- 3: Good cinema. Money well spent
- 4: Great cinema. A standing ovation
- 5: Simply speechless. A masterpiece