* Spoiler Alert *
Terrible things happen to the women in Game Over. Swapna (Taapsee) is a rape victim who stays home and away from the outside world and even her parents, because the raper had shot the rape and hosted it online. Amudha (Sanchana) is a brave heart who has fought cancer thrice. Reena (Parvathi) has been witnessing her daughter suffer badly and fight cancer all her life. It’s ‘game over’ for these 3 women any time soon, who are already leading a hellish life. What’s that triangular interconnection between these women? Who are the monstrous personas that are going to end their games (lives)? Will these women join forces – somehow / indirectly – and escape from those monstrous personas?
May be in a novel, the answers to these questions would sweep you off – thanks to the bulk number of pages that a novel can be made of, offering scope for the novelist to do his/her thing effectively. But, this is a film that runs for just 104 minutes. With such suspenseful questions in the plot, the film ought to pump up your adrenaline. Thrillers, horrors, slashers, mysteries, psychological dramas and fantasies when well made, do rush your adrenaline. The kind of movie-going experience that Ashwin and team offer with this multi-genre is phenomenal and yes, about your adrenaline, it’s a shocker on the radar.
The film opens with a spine-chilling gory set piece that’s presented on the screen with no compromises. The stage is absolutely well set and we get a gist of what’s in the store for the rest of the film. From then on, we witness Swapna in solitude and there’s a helping hand, a motherly persona – Kalamma (Vinodhini). They live in a stranded house, guarded by a watchman. Hold your horses! It’s not just these 3 who will be role playing. Yes, there’s a ghost too. Still, not the 4 alone. Every property in the house, from the tiniest to the largest, from the in-condition to the out-of-condition, you got to note them all in the first place (bits of freeze frames are presented too). They too have roles to play.
You know very well which is where in the house and what you’re hearing. The camera’s positioning, traversals and zooming are done from a perspective – it’s either the characters’ or an imaginary third party placed in the scene, observing the happenings so closely. You intensely feel the gravity of every situation. Excellent & other such words would be an under-statement here. Ashwin & his team (notably, cinematographer, production designer and sound designer/engineer) are in top of their game in Game Over and yes, the actors too are appreciably earnest.
The characterisations are novelistic. For instance, Swapna doesn’t play Pacman because she’s a game designer/engineer, as a hobby or from the other way around, why would a gaming professional in this world of artificial intelligence, play yesteryear’s Pacman? Ashwin answers in a mind-blowing way.
Why do the slashers kill these women anyway? Why are the women’s photos numbered? The answers literally lie in the other name for “slashers” – “psycho” killers.
Game Over is Ashwin’s Masterpiece and that’s two in a row with Maya in the first place. From every member of the cast to the technicians, their mastery works are laudable. With all of Ashwin’s films (2 till date) earning themselves a place for each of them in world cinema, guess Iravaa Kaalam, the SJ Suryah starrer, mustn’t be held back any more.
Dark themed multi-genres made with uncompromising intensity have always been unforgettable movie-going experiences. In that case and beyond, Game Over is a miracle in world cinema!
Reviewed by Rajarajan VS