“They move around on two legs but they are beasts”Review by Lewis Goodall
Much like the Indian language, I’ll make this review very quick. This is a film that I wasn’t expecting anything from but I was pleasantly surprised with whatever the hell this film seems to be. Me just then comparing this to the Indian language isn’t just random, this is an Indian film and it was something that surprised me whilst watching it, they’re so quick with talking, it’s like a race to say a sentence as fast as possible, it was genuinely amazing.
So Jallikattu, the word is actually the name of a sport/tradition in India where a bull is unleashed upon a crowd of people and they must control it, either by grabbing the lump on it’s back, riding it or grabbing it by the horns. This film plays out like that but instead the bull has been let out by accident by a butter handed butcher (a sentence I never thought I’d write). Directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery, this is a depiction of man showing how primal we still are. As the bull unleashes havoc upon a small town, it’s down to the residence of this town to hunt it down in order to control the beast terrorising their crops.
Instantly this film is a surprise, like I said, I wasn’t going into this film expecting much, I went to see it just as filler for the day but as soon as it started, I knew I was in for a treat. Instantly were greeted with a ticking clock soundtrack to add to the anxiety of what’s about to come. Guess this film is kind of like an Indian version of Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’ I that aspect. The sounds and the editing are mesmerising to create a montage of the lives of the people who live in this village, it shows the day to day of the butchers who sell their red meat, mainly buffalo. Sprinkled into this is a lot of humour which again was fairly unexpected. I was going into this film expecting a brutal cat and mouse but there was a lot of humour thrown in and some really good humour at that.
Along with the editing, the camera motions were also incredibly done, I’m a huge fan of a long lasting, one shot and it delivered on several occasions. It was a genuinely enjoyable watching experience, watching the camera swerve In and out of a crowd of people running together. As the film progresses and the bull create more trouble, the more people join in the hunt to the point where there is a crowd of what must be over 200 people chasing this one bull and the scale of this film is Insanely powerful. I was not expecting this film to have as much of an impact as it had.
At points I would say that I felt as though the story wasn’t quite sure what it was, as in between high intensity moments, it would suddenly cut to a family or a strange small love story that felt very unneeded considering the story that this film was meant to be. I’m not too sure where these cut away’s fit in, even looking at it with an arty eye, I cant see there being too much relevance to the story at hand. I looked at it with an arty eye because the end certainly has you looking at it with this eye. The end gets you thinking about just how much the human race really hasn’t changed from our primal ancestors and how that at the end of the day, we are still just beasts. This is solidified by the fact that 92% of the dialogue in this film is just yelling.
Overall it’s an experience I really wasnt prepared for but I was blown away by how much I enjoyed going along with the crowd, chasing this bull, made me want to grab a spear and slap on a loin cloth.