Game Over is an eminently watchable thriller starring Taapsee Pannu, which plays all kinds of games with the viewer's mind
Game Over is over in 102 minutes flat. The thriller that stays on course, for the most part, is an edge-of-the-seat experience. A Telugu-Tamil bilingual film that has been dubbed in Hindi and stars Taapsee Pannu, Game Over's story hinging on a videogame designer's life has murder, mystery, horror - and a little bit more.
The Hindi version under review has been presented by Anurag Kashyap. Crisply edited and helped by a well-written, fast-paced screenplay, the Ashwin Saravanan-helmed film plays all kinds of games with the viewer's mind.
The plot unfolds in Gurugram, an uncommon destination for Indian filmmakers. The prelude is a shocker. A cancer survivor named Amrutha (Sanchana Natarajan) is murdered with unnerving brutality and her body – except the severed head – is set on fire. Giving away too many spoilers would destroy the shock value. But it must be said that the prelude isn't without a context.
Pannu is Sapna, a video game designer working out of home. She is a Pac Man addict, and something happens to her when the lights go off. She lives with a loving caretaker (Vinodhini Vaidyanathan), who plays an important role in helping Swapna deal with her problems – both of the physical and psychological variety.
Sapna has survived a brutal assault on New Year’s Eve, the scars of which remain deep inside her. Tormented by disturbing thoughts, she reaches out for a psychologist, who explains her condition as ‘anniversary reaction’, which leads to unsettling feelings or memories during the anniversary of a significant event in a person’s life.
Sapna has not been in touch with her family, and the bond she shares with her caretaker is full of warmth and affection. She has a tattoo on her wrist, which links her with the murder of the cancer survivor. The tattoo is in the shape of a videogame console, a predictable preference of design for someone like her.
Game Over comes across as a murder mystery at the outset. Gradually, it mutates into a psychological thriller in which the life of a girl tosses and turns repeatedly, generating suspense and curiosity. It makes the viewer ask questions while watching it, the most important of which is: what is going on?
With her performances in films like Manmarziyan and Mulk, Taapseei Pannu has proved that she is a lot more accomplished than the average promising actress. In Game Over, she takes centre stage and delivers a standout performance that holds the film together. Full marks to Vaidyanathan, too, who gives her good company in the role of the caretaker.
If the viewer is into gaming, s/he will spot things related to it throughout the film. That, however, is not why Game Over is so original. Certain genuinely scary moments have been scripted with great ingenuity, which makes the film eminently watchable.
Game Over’s biggest strength is that it doesn’t waste time showing what need not be shown. That, as we know, is the hallmark of most good thrillers.
Last Updated 11:50 AM IST