Netrikann Tamil Movie Review
Director Milind Rau's Netrikann has all the trappings of a standard slasher movie. Take a psychopath who derives sexual pleasure from hurting his female victims, for instance. Ajmal's psychopath cum killer targets women, who seek a specific medical procedure, and hurts them even with a whip. Then there is Nayanthara's CBI officer who becomes blind following a car accident. Nayanthara's Durga loses a close family member in the accident, which she attributes to herself.
Durga's lack of vision is the film's main conceit. As Durga cannot see, she has to rely on others to move around and move through objects. So, even when she comes in the presence of the killer, she should rely on her non-vision senses, instincts and other people to help crack a case. The other characters include cop Manikandan (Manikandan) and a food delivery driver played by Saran Shakthi.
Netrikann is an adaptation of the Korean film Blind, which I have not seen yet. But I know that it has elements similar to Priyadarshan's film Oppam. In Oppam, Mohanlal plays a blind man who 'witnesses' a murder and must protect himself and a girl from the killer. Only, here, protecting herself and others is part of the personal and professional responsibility of Nayanthara's character, as she is also a law enforcement officer. This means there is also a law enforcement angle to Durga's attempts to thwart the killer's plans. So, it never becomes an issue when Durga spends much time in and around the police station at critical junctures of the film.
I particularly enjoyed a punch line from Nayanthara's character as male cops, except for Manikandan, silently listen to talks of atrocities. Someone should do something about it, and it seems believable even when Nayanthara happens to be that person. As Durga is a CBI officer, you feel she has a right to be there as much as everyone else. This element of believability is maintained throughout this film. Most filmmakers use Nayanthara in purely glamorous roles, but Netrikann has her as a fleshed-out character without makeup. The actor is convincing as a blind person.
But the above-mentioned information does not mean that Netrikann is a flawless thriller. It works more as a drama film than in the form of a thriller. Ajmal is reasonably creepy as the killer here, but his character is generically written. Therefore, the turn from Ajmal also comes across as a performance without much to write home about. There is an explanation for the killer's deeds, but it does not make him a strong-enough adversary to Nayanthara's Durga. The other issue is that the cat-and-mouse game involving Durga and the killer becomes a tad repetitive after a point. As the audience, we know little about the victims of the killer, so the screenplay appears little in the way of drama.
After all, there is little wiggle room for invention in a slasher film. For instance, you know that the antagonist is eventually going to fail at whatever he tries to do here and that the protagonist will survive. Nevertheless, the makers use the visual impairment of the character to spring a few surprises. I also liked the way in which they give a redemptive arc to a supporting character. There is also some humor in the film.