Article 15 : Bollywood Treading Uncharted Waters.

Considering the rather lukewarm responses from fringe groups to Article 15, in comparision to the frenzy that the likes of Padmavat kicked up, I have to admit that I was indeed a bit skeptical about the film. Caste is as much a reality in urban India as it is in the hinterlands and here was a mainstream Bollywood feature that was more than just acknowledging the very existence of the menace. The provocative trailer gave an impression that it was a no holds barred take on the stain of our collective conscience as a country, that the practice is. But the whole time I was watching it, I couldnt but help wonder how the film got made with the backing of a major studio like Zee Studios, in the first place. You would be absolutely in the right to call me a cynic, but given the times we live in, I wouldn’t be entirely in the wrong to feel the way I did, either. But, I guess the film deserves to be lauded just for the fact that it got made, especially in an industry as hypocritical and pretentious as Bollywood.

Article 15 opens to an extensive disclaimer that vouches that the film is entirely fictional and that it has no intentions to malign any religious sentiments with it’s content. Then, in a first for the Indian film industry, we hear Bob Dylan’s iconic “Blowing in the wind” playing in the background. That was only the first in a long line of firsts for mainstream Hindi Cinema, we soon realise. We are presented with Ayushman Khurrana’s suave sophisticated cop who’s still wet behind his ears and is seen riding in a cop car with a copy of Jawaharlal Nehru’s Discovery of India by his side, on his way to take charge as ACP in a town that’s somewhere between Lucknow and Ayodhya, as we learn from the driver. I’m absolutely clueless about the relevance of the book here, unless it was just a direct to reference to the title. The film flags it’s intentions early on when the young cop asks his driver to stop for a drink of water and is told that they were passing through a locality where the residents belonged to a lower caste and that even their shadows were outcast for the upper castes which obviously made up the passengers.Yes, these are cops, government employees, sworn in by the only written word that matters, the Constitution. The top cop, of course would have none of it and he’s here to break the rules. When he’s not seen in his uniform, he is seen sporting a suit most of the time which could very well be an ode to the man who is the architect of our Constitution, Dr.B.R. Ambedkar whose name is taken as a slogan on many occassions in the film. This newbie cop from Delhi is supposed to be the personification of that class of our society who are impervious and oblivious to the malices of the caste system. In fact he’s so clueless that he actually asks his subordinates to explain to him the caste heirarchy of the team he’s leading, including his own. That’s a hard sell in a realistic film with an IPS officer as the central character. The film clearly draws inspiriation from the Badaun rape case and works like a police procedural and a thriller too with the search for a missing girl added to the plot. In his journey into the heartlands of Northern India, the cop comes across a range of characters from corrupt cops to politicians to local businessmen with vested interests to the subjugated to the rebels, which brings us to another character, that of a Dalit leader. played passionately by Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub. He’s the hero who doesn’t get to be the hero. The saviour has to be one from the priviliged class, the film underscores and that’s almost the only instance where it defeats itself. The mood of the film comes to the fore the most in a most disturbing scene where a manual scavenger is seen to be emerging from a manhole, it’s an image that stays with you for long because if you care to think and pause for a moment, you know that it’s most probably happening that very moment in some part of our country for real.

The makers have left no stone unturned in their efforts to portray the horrors of the caste system on screen for a wider audience. The detailing is impeccable. The CBI officer from South India played by Nasser is named Panicker, for one. The script is basically a tour de force for Gaurav Solanki’s skills as a writer I feel, considering his history as a writer with a conscience and unrelenting views. There’s more than one dig at the ruling government, but then the whole film is supposed to be one too. Anubhav Sinha who debuted almsot two decades back with the extended music video that Tum Bin was, has come a long way indeed and his recent Mulk  dealt with a touchy topic too. Despite all the gritty realities that the film doesnt shy away from throwing the audience’s way, one cant but help feel that the ending was almost fairytale. The greatest criticsm that could come the film’s way, rightly too is the fact that it’s the Brahmin hero who appears as the saviour here. Ayushman Khuranna’s Ayan Ranjan could very well be Lord Ram even, given his perfect gentlemanly demeanour and conduct. Isha Talwar plays his love interest and serves the purpose of a moral compass to on more than one occassion, in fact he is almost entirely dependent on her when it comes to his social awareness. Article 15 is far from perfect but it is indeed the bare it all for Bollywood filmmakers who have been sweeping caste under the carpet, on screen for decades. It is pasteruization, it’s the Small Pox vaccine, it’s the Moon landing, as far as Bollywood is concerned.

Unda : The Trajectory Of A Well Aimed Misfire.

What’s Unda? No, its not a Malayalam movie that’s upholding an age old tradition by misspelling the Hindi word for “egg’. Unda ,apart from other things is also the malayalam for bullet, yes the one that goes into a gun’s chamber not the one that’s ridden. So much for disambiguation. Unda was in the news early on not just because it was a Mammooty vehicle. The man at the helm was Khalid Rehman, who impressed with his debut, Anuraga Karikkin Vellam. Moviegoers were obviously curious to see the result of the collaboration. Now that the shots have been fired, it’s time to check the target sheets to see if it’s a hit or a miss by Mammooty and Khalid Rehman this time around.

Khalid Rehman has based this film on a real life incident that he reportedly came across in a news column in a Malayalam daily, about a battalion of men from the Kerala Police who were sent to Chattisgarh to provide security for a leg of the 2014 Parliamentary Elections to be held in a constituency in a region plagued by Maoist insurgency. The men faced severe hardships in unfamiliar situations they’d never imagined they’d come across in their comparatively laid back duty days back in Kerala. The film, we were told, was supposedly a realistic retelling of the experiences of these men. Much of that is indeed true. Incidentally, the director’s debut film also had a cop character who was far removed from the regular movie cop, played by Biju Menon. That Khalid Rehman has a penchat for impeccable detailing in setting up complex scenes, as much in terms of the surroundings and enviornments that his characters dwell in, as the characters themselves, was more than evident in his debut film. Those skills come to the fore here again, when he takes the viewers on a journey with the characters into the jungles of Chattisgarh. He is extremely frugal with his actors and they deliver exactly what he demanded from them, in terms of screen space and dialgoues, nothing more nothing less. His greatest success as a director in Unda is the fact that this frugality is imposed on everyone from the realtively greehorn-ish Lukman to the Big M himself. There’s no contesting the fact that the script is king here and for me at least, ironically it’s the script that fizzles out in a whimper towards the end and let’s the film down ultimately. To draw from a fitting analogy, the movie follows a tracjectory in its narration that’s akin to that of a bullet, the eponymous Unda with it’s peak, crest and the inevitable drag towards the end. A slew of promising actors, namely  Shine Tom, Rony David, Arjun Ashokan, Lukman, Gokulan and Noushad make up the band of cops who are led through their ordeal by Mammooty and Director Ranjith, who features in an extended cameo. Asif Ali and Vinay Fort appear in scenes which almost had me thinking that the wong movie was being streamed. The USP of Anuraga Karikkin Vellam was that it came across as a consistent exercise in breaking cliches and stereotypes, right from casting to characters to the plot itself. Unda does that a lot, for most parts but it fails to sustain that motivation towards the end.

Unda is not a bad movie by any stretch of imagination, it is in fact a very good film, considering the fact that the lead actor’s last three releases in Malayalam were  the de-facto hit Madhuraraja, the-blink-and-you-miss-at-the-box-office Oru Kuttanadan Blog and that lingering assault on human intelligence that Abrahaminte Santhathikal was. This brings us to the definition, rather the redefinition of the idea of a “good film” these days. In terms of lead actors, these are films where the actors don the roles of regular human beings and doesn’t pack a punch or a kick that defies every known law of physics. Mammooty’s Mani in Unda is one such character but hardly throws him any challenge the entire length of the role. The man could play a character like this in his sleep. Then we have the politics of films. These days, every other movie is political in it’s narrative to the point that it’s almost obligatory. There has to be a mandatory addressing of some sort of discrimination for a film to be taken seriously and Unda does it bit too when it takes on caste here. Though this welcome change could very well be attributed to an increasing awareness amongst makers and viewers about the social realities and circumstances that we opt to turn a blind eye to for the sake of amity, in the absence of an adept screenwriter, this could take a toll on what makes Cinema or any fiction worth our attention, drama. This is even more truer for films based on real life incidents and this is where a film like Virus scores over Unda when it infuses gripping drama into its narration. For a realistic film dealing with real incidents, though I’m not privy to the details of the original incidents, I  felt that the film defeats itself when it opts for denial of ground realities ultimately and works to pan out it’s politics in a different direction entirely. This and the last couple of scenes did not work for me exactly which is why I feel that the movie is a well aimed misfire.

NGK : Tamil Stars Care About Farmers, Do You?

Long before the Kisan Long March, we saw Ilaya Thalapathi Vijay lamenting the cause of the farmers on the big screen in A.R.Murugadoss’s Kaththi . Now, Murugadoss was smart enough to realise that when you tackle as grave and complicated an issue as the plight of  farmers in a film, you simply cannot pull it off with a single Vijay, so we ended up getting two for the price of one, saviours I mean. In stark contrast, we are presented writer-director Selvaraghavan’s latest, NGK where Suriya is seen fighting the farmer’s fight, on his own. Incidentally Suriya had played twin roles  in another Murugadoss film about saviours, 7am Arivu. Murugadoss’s heroes are always simple men with simple answers to complex issues and gets the job done with a Kaththi (knife) or a Thuppakki (gun), in comparision to Selvaraghavan’s leading men who are troubled individuals who almost always can’t even rescue themselves, leave alone the people who look up to them. But then, Murugadoss and Selvaraghavan are two directors at the far ends of the narrow spectrum that commercial filmmaking is and if direction was a jungle, Selvaraghavan could rightly be called a different animal. From psychological thrillers to gangster drama to  fantasy to sci-fi, Selvaraghavan has lent his touch to diverse genres with varying success in the past and now he has attempted to give the political thriller a twist of his own.

Suriya plays Nanda Gopalan Kumaran in this eponymous film about a regular citizen who is distressed by everything that’s wrong with the political establishment, not a first in Tamil films, Shankar almost made a career out of it, but given Selvaraghavan’s repertoire, it was something to look forward to, right from the day the news broke that the director was teaming up with Suriya who was in much need of a box office resurgence too. The last time Suriya played a politician was in Mani Ratnam’s Ayutha Ezhutha and he played it with elan. Michael Vasanth looked and talked every bit like the leader he was. In last year’s Sarkar we saw Murugadoss getting Vijay to spreadeagle down on Tamil polity and transforming governments overnight, literally. Selvaraghavan however, would have none of that for Suriya. Unlike Sarkar’s protagonist who transforms the system in a jiffy, in NGK, it’s the character who undergoes a transformation. NGK is essentially as much an exercise in character study as of the social circumstances that the director asks the cinematographer to pan his lens across. It basically shows us how individuals with the noblest of intentions make compromises and resort to dishonorable acts once the tentacles of the system closes in on them. In the same breath, NGK is also Selvarghavan’s most commercialised hero to date. Nanda Gopan Kumaran holds a PhD and left a cushy job with an MNC to take up organic farming. He’s at arms length for people in need, literally. Trained in mortal combat too he is, apart from being a cook with a Midas touch , we learn later. Naturally, NGK’s opponents are the ones reigning in the traditional political power centres who control everything with the aid of a PR army, which is a true reflection of the times we live in. This also brings us to one of the prominent female characters in NGK’s story, played by Rakul Preet, the other being his wife, Sai Pallavi in a rather one dimensional role.

Politics has been the natural retreat for actors in the South of the country and in the recent past we saw two of the most prominent stars putting an end to decades of speculation by launching their own parties. NGK is provocative when it reflects subtly on such attempts to revamp the prevalent political narrative and tentatively present the political realities which these new crop of parties would inevitably face sooner or later. The choices they make would decide if they will previal or perish. Even in a state as starry eyed as Tamil Nadu, it’s no hidden fact that the days of MGR and Jayalalitha are long gone. Even with all his on screen charisma, no political commentator would expect Rajnikanth’s or Kamal Hassan’s party to be anything more than an ally to one of the major league players, at the end of the day. To cut him some slack, Selvaraghavan is not selling a pipe dream like Murugadoss but true to his roots as a filmmaker has tried to hold a bleak and morose mirror to the political curry pot in the underbellies of the state. Selvaraghavan the writer has been let down by Selvaraghavan the director in the past, especially when the canvases were large, I feel.  He reminds me of a kid who goes to school prepared for his exams but has an anxiety attack at the last moment and makes a mess of the answer sheet. In NGK, too Selvaraghan passes, only barely. NGK is no call for political upheaval, rather it’s a warning sign which says, Okay you want change but enter at your own risk.

 

 

ISHQ: Yes, It’s Not A Love Story, It’s A Great Story.

Films named synonyms of the word love and with the tagline  “not a love story”, have almost evolved into a genre in the Indian film industry. As the title and the tag suggest, these are often films which start out as a run of the mill love story and then tries shock and awe techniques on an unsuspecting audience. To call them formulaic wouldn’t be entirely wrong. Ram Gopal Varma wreaked havoc with the idea in his heydays and his not-so-hey-days too, which is one reason why the tag has lost its novelty, more or less, I’d say. Bollywood loved the theme so hard and long that they now actually  have a franchise called Hate Story. Having said that, it was something that we haven’t seen much of in the Malayalam film industry though 22. Female Kottayam used the the same formula. But with Ishq, the first true not-love-story has made it’s debut in the Malayalam film industry,  it’s safe to say, and how.

Ishq at it’s core tackles a theme that has been explored by many films in the recent past, moral policing. We have seen versions of it in films ranging from Uncle to Varathan. Personally I felt that Ishq had shades of Kali too, but extremely light shades, I must add. Ishq is an artist’s reaction to the actions of some of the meanest and most depraved elements of our society, it is nothing lesser than a slap on the face of the moral brigade and the real news footages that run during the end credits is the most subtle yet fitting response to the perpetrators behind those acts of moral policing. It’s the cinematic equivalent of Michael Jackson’s scream in the iconic “They dont really care about us”, so to speak. But Ishq’s greatest success lies in the fact that it explores this malady in layered, complex ways. It builds an illusion that it’s just another film with simple answers but then it pulls a fast one on you and you end up loving the film for it. The film actually walks a tight rope and could have ended up being criticised for it’s male centric narrative but it redeems itself in spectacular fashion. Ratheesh Ravi tells us loud and clear that there’s more to him than Pullikaran Stara, in fact this time around, he has done a star turn as a writerFor a debut director, Anuraj Manohar has shown impeccable control over his craft and has paced the film perfectly. The writer and the director opens the film with some sweet moments and then builds tension on the screen into a crescendo towards the end.

There are no heroes in this film if you ask me, not in the conventional sense. Shane Nigam is supposed to be the actor in the leading role and he delivers in his inimitable style. It’s almost a role tailor made for him, that of the next door boy with a hint of derangement. Then you have a Shine Tom who is the antagonist and manages to garner the hatred of the audience almost effortlessly. Giving him company is a measured Jaffer Idukki. Ann Sheetal is the female lead and holds her own in this film which I felt is about vantage points,  where the victims are ultimately always women. That brings us to Leona Lishoy, who shines in her brief but lingering portrayal of an unsuspecting wife who ends up a victim too. Apart from these actors, the most notable presence is Jakes Bejoy in the form of his stellar background music. In Ishq, like in our lives, for the men it’s about hurt egos and retaliation and women are left to pick up the pieces. The film, I felt is also about the construct of the alpha male. It suggests that there are no alphas really, only circumstances. The male ego, the film shows, can take a beating from another male with an upper hand in a confrontation and even reconciles with it, but tends to snap when it’s questioned by a female. But that’s just my take. Ishq or Uncle or any other film on the issue is not going to change the society that we are part of. Renaissance had an impact on art, not the other way round,  having said that, in that sense, Ishq could be a sign too, of awareness, if not change. On a closing note, Ishq is instant gratification, and more.

 

 

 

 

Game Of Thrones, The Indian General Elections and Some Late Theories.

Consider the predicament of an average Indian who is also a GoT fan. The election results would be out on May 23 and HBO would be airing the final episode on May 19. That’s one mass post partum syndrome, if I may, I’m curiously looking forward to witness and yeah, experience too. If you can still remain sane after dealing with the kind of speculation that’s going round in both cases wherever you turn to, that in itself is an achievement, I’d say. Come to think of it, the Indian Elections and GoT are not too different from each other, given the ruthlessness and deceit rampant in either, for starters. Loyalties switch before you blink in both realms too, so to speak.

The most stark -pun of course unintended- of similarities is the fact the common man or the masses do not matter at the end of the day in Indian politics and GoT. The Indian politicians know what buttons to push to make the populace dance to their tunes and when it comes to GoT the masses serve little other purpose than to be blown up or burned down in hordes. Ultimately both are about the ruling classes and their struggles to stay in power. The one and only difference that I can think of is the fact that GoT has at least one honorable character, that being Jon Snow.

Theories about the fate of the characters in GoT have been dime a dozen since the first season aired and though I held out from succumbing to the speculation frenzy for long, looks like I’ve finally given in. Now that the Bran- Night King angle has died a cold death, it’s back to game of thrones, literally. It’s men and women against each other. There are ones with rightful claims to the throne and there are ones with ambitions and aspirations, this is an early instance of one such display of pure naive desire. Let’s see how that plays out for Jon, et al.

Avengers – Endgame : Well, All’s well That Ends well OR Where I Rant Incessantly Around The Bush.

All good things must come to an end we’ve been told, unless of course you’re an Indian politican, just to put things in perspective from a desi vantage point. Turns out, the Avengers are no different, despite all their collective powers. The past decade and this one could be hailed as the age of the superhero in Hollywood thanks especially to Marvel’s inexhaustible repertoire of characters with superhuman skills, out to save the world and fight their inner demons too. Marvel broke ground with Iron Man and hasn’t looked back since. MCU, they called it, and we nodded in agreement. Marvel delivered some of the most memorable characters in pop culture today thanks to some great collaborators behind and in front of the camera. The boundless avenues that technology opened up in terms of CGI too played a huge role in bringing these more or less uncaped heroes – except for Thor and Dr.Strange – and their worlds to the screen exactly in ways they were envisioned in the comic books originally. But at the core, Avengers work for us an audience for the very reason why Seven Samurai or The Magnificent Seven or Guns of Navarone worked. That and Robert Downey Jr. , I think. There’s that part of our soul that craves to be be saved, literally and figuratively. It’s the very same part, religions have built their instituitions upon since time immemorial. There’s something fascinating about a hero, and all the classic ballads and myths have told tales of awe-inspiring heroes in all cultures and civilizations across the globe. Stan Lee was one amongst the many new age Homers, and one who stands tall too.

I’ve never attempted to review an Avenger movie ever but I’ve indeed shared my thoughts on the random Marvel film and this is not a review either. When it came to the Avengers, I was always at a loss of words, but not exactly because I in awe though. Now that Marvel has ominously bucked the tradition by doing away with the post credit scene, I thought I’d follow suit too. The first Avenger movie piqued interest globally for obvious reasons. I mean, who would’nt want to watch their favorite superheroes come together to save the world? Copyrights and licensing deals did keep Spiderman from joining the party for a while but Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Captain America did a good job at the box office in his absence so much so that he wasn’t missed much. The fact that we had enough Spiderman reboots to last a lifetime is something I’ve briefly pondered over here and was a factor too, from an audience’s perspective. Personally, I had something akin to a withdrawal syndrome, starting with Age of Ultron. All I could recall about Avengers at one point were crumbling skyscrapers and huge spaceships that were crashing down on big cities. The jokes helped much, I do admit.

Marvel kept throwing the one-two punch at the viewers, the hard right hook with the Avengers and the soft left jab with the solo hero outings. But I can’t but help feel that even Robert Downey Jr. could’nt have saved Iron Man 4, if there would’ve been one. Captain America I know only from the Marvel films and his first solo outing was more interesting and engaging than I expected and Chris Evans does deserve some credit for evolving the character into someone who could hold his own on screen beside the effervescent Robert Downey Jr.’s, Iron Man. Mark Ruffalo was an interesting Hulk before Marvel decided to use him exclusively for comic relief in his blown-up CGI avatar though the Edward Norton Hulk remains a personal favorite right behind the Eric Bana one. The next A-list Avenger Thor was more than safe with Chris Hemworth but I’m not quite sure what to make of his “deconstructed” version in Endgame though, I’m expected to laugh I guess. The Black Panther was raved about but when it came to the final showdown, he was merely a set piece, again something which I have pondered on elaborately in the past. Johanssen’s Black Widow and Renner’s Hawkeye are the non-superhero presences alongside Don Cheadle in the Avenger’s inner circle.  Then out of the blue literally came Captain Marvel with a dubious gender history, who is most probably the least interesting but most powerful Avenger who could’ve saved the other Avengers the trouble and Marvel the twenty odd films only if she was’nt busy dealing saving lives “intergalactically”. Yes, of course I have’nt forgotten the Guardians, again of Galaxies. And then there’s Nick Fury aka Samuel.L.Jackson who’s basically handling HR for the Avengers. Okay, now if I’ve missed anyone that’s indeed deliberate because the last time I tried this hard to recall names was at my Chemistry exams and I’m exhausted. The Marvel lineup today could give the Periodic Table a run for it’s money.

If you have watched all Marvel films before Endgame you know that this super villain Thanos has wiped out half of the Earth’s living beings with the snap of his fingers including a few Avengers. Iron Man is floating somewhere out there in deep space and tries this emotional farewell speech bit on you early on but you know that he’s not going go die just yet, but nice try Russos. Like I said, at least for me, there hasn’t been any real emotional investment in the fate of the Avengers post the first film where the gang got together. When Thanos appeared I couldn’t accept him, as a viewer. Maybe it was the corny CGI and how they managed to pull it off despite all the financial and creative resources at their disposal is beyond me. As for characterization, for a franchise that relied heavily on realistic origin stories and real world scenarios for its heroes, here was a made to order super villain who looked like a huge un-chewed Boomer gum strip, ridges intact. He accelerated the disconnect which had already manifested in me. Yeah I know, this is how he was in the comics too but don’t feed me that just yet please. It’s the Marvel Studios not Comics is it not and they have taken more than a few liberties to make sure that it’s not just hard core comic aficionados who walked in to the movie halls religiously when every other Marvel movie was released. To be fair to the Russo Brothers, they have earnestly tried to nullify the effects of every inevitable cliche that was bound to appear on screen for the Avengers to succeed in their mission to save the planet and bring back the lost heroes. The greatest feat is the fact that the director duo have managed to give every hero who’s been a part of every Marvel movie till now at least a second of screen time in this final outing. Marvel tries to make up for the lost cause of feminism in their films in a brief mid battle sequence where all the female superheroes join together to try and bring down Thanos. Obviously, they still haven’t gotten over Wonder Woman, the movie which helped DC stay in the reckoning for a bit more longer in the superhero movie game. In this age where you could trigger wars and genocides with a random share on social media, the success of the final film in the current phase of a franchise as huge as MCU is hardly surprising. Well, in a world where a Marvel film ends without a post credit scene, you have little options but to wake up to the realities around you. Now that Thanos is gone and the Night King is dead, looks like I’ll have to make do with the Indian Parliamentary Election results.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

True Detective | S03 |

After a stellar Season One and a rather lacklustre Season Two, True Detective returns to form in Season Three. The characters played by Woody Harrelson and Mathew McConnaghuey may not have had closure personally or professionally, nor did the show and neither did they offer us the audience any but we still loved them anyway in the first season, which ultimately ended up  making life difficult for every other proponent of the genre out there. The makers changed the rules of the crime thriller genre at least for television with the slow burner show. Season Two had Colin Farrell playing lead and the fate of the show was not much different from the state of his once promising career, to say the least. Season Three features Mahershala Ali and, he is the new Denzel Washington I’d say. Reason enough to binge and that’s exactly what I did.

Deaths, abductions and grief are what drives the tale forward in the third installment too. It’s not exactly a battle of wits in True Detective, it never was. There’s no Moriarty out there to outwit and the detectives are no Sherlocks either. These are troubled indviduals with emotions and failings not too different from the lives, rather deaths,  they investigate and get immeresed into utlimately. Much like the first season, the third deals with an investigation that has gone cold. That’s not the only similarity, though there are differences too, one being the fact that the tale switches between three different timelines in the lives of the investigators played by Mahershala Ali and Stephen Dorff, compared to the two timelines in Season 1. Maybe I should stop talking about Season 1. Yeah. The series starts off with the disappearance of two siblings in smalltown Arkansas. Pizzolatto weaves an intricate tale around the incident, that spreads over three decades.

One would be tempted to say that the series sits squarely on the shoulders of Mahershala Ali but that would be immensely unfair to Stephen Dorf who is literally a powerhouse of talent if you ask me. He more than just holds his own in what’s mostly a show that’s almost built for Mahershala to show off his acting chops. The show is as intense and brooding in tone as they come though it opts to go easy on the viewers towards the end this time around and offers some closure. But true to the spirit of the anthology, it does make the audience work for it and demands just more than passive engagement from it’s viewers. Nic Pizzolatto I think it’s safe to say, has salvaged whatever he lost in Season 2 here with the eight episodes of Season 3. The one thing that stands out is the making, especially the make up department. It’s amongst the best you would ever come across irrespective of screen sizes. Mike Marino is the man responsible and he has probably showed Mahershala Ali and Stephen Dorff exactly how they would look in another 30-40 years, without resorting to CGI. You have to see it to believe it and trust me you would notice it. When Mahershala Ali delivers an astounding performance as a man in his post retirement years with all that prosthetics, I’m not quite sure what’s to be lauded here, his skills as an actor or the skills of Marino.