Movie Review: The Killer ...

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By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News Service

Film: "The Killer"; Cast: Irrfan Khan, Emran Hashmi, Nisha Kothari;

Director: Hasnain S. Hyderabadwala and Raksha Mistry; Rating: * 1/2

Hollywood remakes are most of the time only an occasion for the

adapted version to be ridiculed and "The Killer" just about escapes

this fate.

If you haven't seen Michael Mann's "Collateral", you wouldn't know

that nearly every moment in "The Killer" is inspired by the original.

And what has not been derived from it is not worth the script's

while.

The two unlikely partners in the confused collaboration between a

cabbie and his criminal passenger are played by actors who seem

oblivious of what Jamie Foxx and Tom Cruise did in the original.

There are some interesting moments of shared camaraderie between

Irrfan Khan and Emran Hashmi and they have been given some crisp lines

to mouth. The words allow them to explore with audacity the chasm

between crime and morality.

Dark in tone, the interface between the two actors is often broken

by songs featuring the exuberant romantic lead (Nisha Kothari) who

walks in with a confident swagger that could have damaged the film's

taut equilibrium.

She manages to intrude without disrupting the main drama, which

involves just two characters and a series of brutal murders. The cops

on the killer's trail are so caricatural that crime often gets

glorified.

The narration has a certain momentum that the co-directors don't

allow to be lost till the feverish finale when the inexperienced cabbie

finally takes on the ruthless assassin.

The incidental characters are kept at a hand's distance from the

revved-up plot. But finally, you aren't really interested in the body

count. You just want to know why a section of Bollywood chooses to

remake American flicks that have no cultural roots in Hindi cinema.

Realising this, the location is shifted to Dubai. The crowded

airport, over-loaded highways and sleek malls lend themselves well to

the sense of impending doom.

For the rest, the film is largely a pointless take on what

constitutes the anatomy of crime.

As the simple-hearted cabbie interacts with the crime-lord we don't

really get to know why criminals behave in a particular way.

All we see are two differently-profiled actors holding up the film

for all it's worth.

Bollywood.com Rating: 2