At the outset let me confess that I like Suriya more than I like Vijay or Ajith for no other reason other than the fact that he remains the perennial underdog in this trinity of the current crop of stars in the Tamil film industry. Yes, his choice of films and roles leave a lot to be desired, but that being said one has to admit that he puts in his 100% effort in all the films he does irrespective of the box office prospects of the film itself.
Now that I have put that disclaimer there right at the top, let me go on to pen down my thoughts about 24. When I first saw the poster of this movie some time ago I was intrigued by the fact that Suriya chose this particular script and theme not only to star in but also to produce the film itself. From the poster itself, it was quite visible that this was one movie which completely went against the grain of the standard masala movies that most Tamil superstars tend to settle down for and was quite ambitious and bold in its attempt to present a story with a sci-fi bent of mind. And believe me when I say this director Vikram Kumar manages not only to deliver a competent sci-fi movie but also manages to keep the audience entertained for most part of the film itself.
I am a reasonably big fan of sci-fi movies and have devoured the Back to the future series of movies made in the ‘80s more than once. Now while this movie also deals with time-travel at the very heart of its story, the fact remains that there are more than a few logical and ‘time-space continuum’ issues and lapses in it. However, given that this probably is the first large scale project in Tamil cinema dealing with time-travel as its subject I have to say that the director has done a commendable job. The best part is that there are absolutely no loose ends and on more occasion than once the director has left little tit-bits here and there which make sense only when the movie ends. Not one scene (at least the ones relating to the time-travel bits) is wasted and the director has ensured that he has made the most of the screen time devoted to the main plot of the film itself.
What is even better is how he has managed to infuse more than a sufficient bit of comedic element into the proceedings without it feeling forced on us. When Mani (Suriya) first discovers he can travel back and forth in time and essentially bend time itself, what ensues for the next ten odd minutes is nothing short of hilarious and how he initially uses his new found abilities make for quite a few amusing moments in the movie.
While acting in a double role is nothing new for Suriya and he has done it more than once in the past, I personally cannot remember a movie in which he has played a negative role. And from his performance in this movie it is quite visible that he enjoys playing such characters quite a bit, and to be honest, he is quite convincing playing the part as well. Of course it helps that the role itself is quite meaty and is well carved out with more than a few nuances. This is not one of those dumb villains whose actions are mostly reactions to the hero’s, but is somebody whose actions drives the script forward and has got the smarts to outwit the hero more than once. I, for one, would love to see Suriya play the villain more often, if possible with other heroes as well. Would make for interesting hero-villain conflicts in my opinion.
All of the above being said, the only loose end or unnecessary aspect that I found in the movie was the inclusion of the romantic angle with Samantha. Yes, Tamil audiences don’t quite accept a movie without songs, and to hear of a movie with AR Rahman in the roster without songs is quite sacrilegious, but my personal opinion was that Samantha and her romance with Suriya did nothing to the movie. It didn’t add anything at all to the proceedings nor did it provide any eye candy (what with Samantha being among the list of heroines I am better off not watching at all). However, in the director’s and AR Rahman’s defense, the songs are really nice and the soundtrack is one which I intend to download sometime soon and enjoy quite a bit (without the visuals, of course).
In a nutshell, this is one summer movie which you must watch and for sure take your children to see as well. Am more than sure the entire family will enjoy this brave, competent and entertaining attempt at popular science fiction.