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Nov 2, 2018

Ranam: Detroit Crossing , A Review

Close-ups framed by somber voice-overs in down and out desperado jargon paints a picture of a big specter in the offing - a fight for the dangerous under belly of Detroit. This is where Ranam (transl: the battle) happens - at Detroit Crossing. And guess who is trying to lay claim to the ruins of America's original motor city - some South Indians and a few Poles! I don't know what the Black Mafia or the Flatheads will have to say about that, but I am guessing the film maker will pull up his creative license card if questioned.

The director, Nirmal Sahadev, teases the audience with the prospect of an ever-present menace in the motor city, employs tightly framed shots so that none of its mundaneness leaks in. To up the danger quotient and maybe also as a nod to his inspiration (the 2014 movie, Drive), there are plenty of red lighted scenes, red pills, blood, guns, germs and steel. The last two were thrown in by me for the Jared Diamond effect, they do not feature in this movie to any significant degree.

The people who feature in Ranam are Malayalam's own answer to Hollywood - Prithviraj and Isha Talvar who is miscast as usual. Giju John as the lead detective is impressive in his debut while Rahman with his remarkable on screen presence is a great pick for the mob boss, Damodar Ratnam. He reunites with his co-star from the Tamil noir movie Dhruvangal Pathinaru - Ashwin Kumar, who plays his side-kick Selvan. Jakes Bejoy has scored the music for the movie, which includes a decent mixed-rap title track.

Ranam comes off as a forced chronicle. Prithviraj's rigidity, even if his role calls for some of it, does not help the case. The dialog sounds lame, especially the cynical, street smart musings in English delivered in half-baked scenes. The most unconvincing part of the story is the entirety of the Tamil gang trying to control Detroit is comprised of all of two people - Damodar Ratnam and Selvan. One Prithviraj with a hammer, which he brings to all his gun fights, is more than enough for these two people - I cannot even begin to understand why he wasted two hours doing it.

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