- Critic's Rating - 8/108/10
“We all have two lives..
The second one starts when we realize we only have one.”
A fantasy? The metaphoric name “Swapna” of our lead and her perpetual dreams -o- déjà vu suggest so. A psychological thriller? The crisp editing glues one on the edge of his seat as the narrative paces through unnerving camera angles that successfully deliver the intended. A horror? Those jumpscares were totally uninvited like the baddies here. An empowering drama? The would be the most bland way of describing this movie, but it is one with sharp execution, so check.
After lazily categorizing this brilliant filmmaking (by Ashwin Saravanan) as multi genre, I pondered over how propitiously this film made me feel uneasy on the recliner, with its discomforting proceedings right from the opening sequence. Few minutes later, we are introduced to Swapna (Taapsee) concealing her body in long sleeves clothes, where Taapsee’s expressions hint at her concealing some thoughts within too. Suffering from PTSD, she fears dark and somehow the new year celebrations too. This inner and outer cover is a contrast to how we see her in flashback shots, so the game of conclusion – jumping for the audience exists subtly though much obvious.
She lives in her rather big bungalow, a quintessential setting for the upcoming horror chills, with her house help and caretaker Kalamma. And that’s it – this is the world for both audience and Sapna, who is also an avid gamer and a game – developer. Shot mostly in that bungalow by cinematographer A. Vasanth through those shaky angles, focusing on just Swapna and Kalamma, this world seems void of men. Swapna has no male friends, and the closest a guy is depicted, geographically in her vicinity, is the watchman. The dialogues are too few for the Hindi dubbing (that I watched) to stand out as an issue.
Complementing the minimal cast and dialogues is the minimal background score, comprising mostly the classic ‘Pacman’ game sounds. I loved how this game is seamlessly juxtaposed metaphorically with the game of life, with our protagonist struggling for a high score in both. The rather heavy lifting for audio is done masterfully by the sound mixing department (credits to Ron Ethan) – the perpetually used sound of heavy breathing is hard to get out of my mind. Full marks for this one!
The ‘full marks’ work is done by the actors too, with Taapsee Pannu as Swapna being her usual impeccable in her portrayal of a ‘refuse to lose’ girl. Her expressions and body language for the entirety of the movie, with the detailing in her reactions to different situations and people in her world is much praiseworthy. Watch out for her acting in the string of climax sequences – one cannot afford to get his eyes off the screen. In the times when the screentime of a female supporting actor is ala ‘blink and miss’, Vinodhini gets apt time to display her skills playing Kalamma, an evident support and friend to Swapna.
Besides the obvious metaphor of the game, which is a no – brainer from the title; a letter, an immemorial tattoo on hand, even a poster on the wall have their significant bits to contribute to the narrative that is edited crisply with little recurrence, enough to never feel dragged in its runtime of 102 minutes. To my satisfaction, the character arc for Taapsee came a full circle, with required time given to make the audience absorb in her story. It’s the latter half where the proceedings race with high pace, eventually making this one stand tall as a winner of the cinematic game.
Watch its Trailer Here : Game Over (2019) Trailer – YouTube
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