Merry Christmas Movie Review: Katrina Kaif & Vijay Sethupathi starrer shines bright as a noir barring a dismal climax
Two strangers with skeletons hiding under their closets meet on Christmas Eve. Sparks fly between them until a horrifying incident threatens to turn their life topsy-turvy
- Sriram Raghavan
- Katrina Kaif,
- Vijay Sethupathi,
- Vinay Pathak,
- Sanjay Kapoor,
- Radhika Apte,
- Luke Kenny
- thriller/crime/noir/dark comedy
The Sreeram Raghavan directorial Merry Christmas opens with a tribute to legendary filmmaker Shakti Samanta. We are immediately introduced to an intertwined tale of two strangers on Christmas Eve. Both hiding a cloud of darkness on a merry day until an incident turns their life topsy turvy. Merry Christmas is full justice to the noir genre, if only the climax would've managed to keep us hooked to the skin like the rest of the film.
The plot revolves around Albert (Vijay Sethupathi) and Maria (Katrina Kaif) two strangers who meet on the night of Christmas Eve under unusual circumstances. However, both get along like a house on fire with sparks flying amidst a shroud of intrigue and mystery. Their dreamy and starry night turns into a nightmare when they discover that Maria's husband Jerome (Luke Kenny) has been killed. What follows is a spiraling whodunnit that only unravels more and more darkness and skeletons from the closets for our two protagonists.
The writing by Sriram Raghavan, Arijit Biswas, Pooja Ladha Surti, and Anukriti Pandey has brought out the intricacy of the noir and brooding atmosphere of the movie. We anticipate a dark event arriving soon but the light moments don't go unnoticed. Watch out for Vijay's Albert not wanting any batter dosa anymore or him yelling out, 'Itna Bhi Sharif Nahi Hun, Second Glass Hain' when Katrina's Maria asks him whether he is waiting for her to join him for a drink. These dialogues bring a wry sense of humor to the script. The interplay between the characters acts as the perfect catalyst to fasten the whodunnit phase of the movie. However, the movie falters in the climax wherein we are hungry to be dumbstruck by something unexpected which could've set our brain cells to work like the climax of Raghavan's Andhadhun. But we're more disappointed because the dismal climax arrives after a massive build-up. A sense of predictability seeps in during the end which could've been avoided with a more nuanced screenplay. We would've also loved to delve deeper into the protagonists' psyche to decode the motive of their actions. The characterization looked a little incomplete in that aspect too.
The main strength of Merry Christmas lies in its performances especially Vijay Sethupathi. He brings a calmness and a subtlety in his performance and dialogue delivery even in the emotionally gruelling and exhilarating scenes. It can be safely said that he's the Santa to this Merry Christmas who brings the gift of a flawless and nuanced performance. Katrina Kaif has a delightful and vulnerable presence. She has that beautiful but mysterious face which does full justice to Maria's character but the actress struggles in the emotional and riveting scenes. Vinay Pathak, Sanjay Kapoor, Vibha Chhibber and Ashwini Kalsekar are absolutely a delight to behold. Their performances bring a spark to the movie in the second half wherein the plot threatens to falter.
The background score especially the Christmas jingles and carols pick up the fervour of the movie's theme and tone. There's a masterful usage of the song 'Jab Andhera Hota Hai' by Asha Bhosle from the movie Raja Rani in a sequence when Vijay's character is trying to escape from the police. In the soundtracks, 'Raat Akeli Thi' by Arijit Singh and 'Nazar Teri Toofan' by Papon stand out. Overall, Merry Christmas is not at all a bad movie and manages to give you a decent noir experience. But we definitely were in the anticipation for some more bells jingling which didn't turned out to be the case.