Film Review

Captain Miller

todayMay 1, 2024 27

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By – Gareth Jones

For fans of over the top action, semi-historical revenge narratives, fans of Kollywood

The term for Indian cinema has become synonymous with Bollywood. However, there is great diversity now in where films are made and what they are about.  This is true of this week’s film, Captain Miller which is from the Southern region of India.  Films from this region are in another language Tamil and the films are collectively called Kollywood. Captain Miller is a fascinating film that, like many films from India, combines genres, real people with fiction, and whatever else the filmmakers feel will add to the entertainment of the audience.

This story tells the tale (and it is divided into chapters with wonderful titles like “Rise of the Ugly Face”) of Eesa, a jaded young villager who is tired of the horrible upper caste in his village that rule just as cruelly as the British.  This is in the 1930’s, long before the successful non-violent revolt of Gandhi.  He decides to join the British Army and is given the English name of Miller. He dreams of adding Captain to it. However, he is forced to kill non-violent protesters by the British officers. He himself revolts and joins a rebel gang, exacting revenge.  He learns that his brother, a non-violent protester, was in that very group.  He goes on to work with this group stealing from the rich and giving some to the poor, while also destroying as many British as possible.   The plot gets denser and denser as the film goes along, and the set pieces for action get grander and grander as well.  The use of drones and slow motion is used constantly at times brilliantly, and at other times a bit too much.  But then, what are you expecting?  Subtlety?  No way, this is Kollywood.

These set pieces are often accompanied by incredible music, telling the story of his revenge.  Some are sung along and some are background.  There are even a few that have dance sequences.  Not as many as other Indian films, but it is well orchestrated and very entertaining.  The booming music and angry lyrics justly accentuate the over the top action scenes. All of this is centered around the acting of Tamil legend Dhanush.  He brings a fantastic range to this role and is equal to any Hollywood action star working today.  And he sings and dances.

The story is loosely based on two things.  The first is a real Captain Miller who in the Tamil revolts sacrificed himself blowing up a military base held by the Sri Lankan Army.  As such, the name holds great significance to the people of India.  The other reason is the Hollywood influence.  The director, Arun Matheswaren, loved the way that Tom Hanks played Captain Miller in Saving Private Ryan.  That is just one of many influences from Hollywood, but Arun does a great job mixing it with all that is great about Indian cinema as well.

Watching Captain Miller is pure entertainment.  You will be well rewarded with the viewing if you are there for the explosions, slow motion walks with explosions, and more explosions.  You will also be rewarded with a banging score and songs that get stuck in your head. Finally, you will get to see a film that is strongly critical of the caste system as well.  Well worthe the 2 and ½ hours spent.

Available to stream on Amazon Prime

Written by: Gareth Jones

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