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An Exercise in Excess

  • Ankur Pathak

    Ankur Pathak (50 DM Points)

    Desimartini | Updated - January 13, 2014 8:10 PM IST
    3.0DM (305 ratings)

    Verdict - Although conceptually original, there is not much else to celebrate about The Last Act

    The Last ActWatch trailerRelease date : December 14, 2012

    The Last Act is a film brimming with conceptual originality but it is way too over-wrought in its elaborate execution, to be fully enjoyed as a feature. Helmed by the messiah of indie cinema, Anurag Kashyap, the film teams up an army of 12 directors from 12 Indian cities, each of whom have made a short film that constructs one dynamic feature length film clocking over 2 hours.

    We haven't seen this experiment before and just for pushing that barrier, Kashyap and his ilk of filmmakers deserve credit. But the problems with The Last Act are far too many for it to become a memorable film. The only way it will be remembered for could be the novelty of its narrative, not the contents.

    A heavily mutilated body is found near the outskirts of a town by the cops who discover 12 clues leading them to 12 different cities and all sorts of creeps. A theatre group, a couple of seemingly amateur (and VERY pseudo-intellectual) detectives, cops, some more cops, an English tutor in a small town, practitioner of dark arts ... it is a long twisted lists.

    This is my problem.

    Almost everyone in The Last Act is wacked out, loose in the head or let's say it this way - does obvious acts of being abnormal. As if there is no duplicity that can be found in normal people and people who do murders are creeps, a band of serious misfits in an urgent need of immediate medical attention.

    There are so many characters introduced, you eventually lose track and after a point do not care about anybody's existence or death. And it is all very dark and gloomy - especially the camera treatment and the background score. Somewhere it is evident that too much effort is put, and not to jaw-droppingly great effect.

    Clues after clues are uncovered; many seemingly inconsequential : some text on an advertising pamphlet, a watch here; a screw there. A pair of glasses, stains of vada-pao deliberately added. I'm all for convoluted plot points, but there should be great joy in placing them together. Here, I found it exhausting to watch and too much information to take in. Its a flawed exercise in excess.

    Although some performances are very good, The Last Act is not as immersive as it starts out to be, for it loses steam till it reaches, well, the last act.

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