Rating: 6/10 (Commercial Entertainer)
After a disaster like Puli, Ilayathalapathy Vijay is back with a bang with his latest film Theri. Also starring Samantha and Amy Jackson, the film is directed by Raja Rani fame Atlee. How is the film? Read the review to find out.
Story: Joseph Kuruvilla (Vijay) lives in Kerala with his daughter Nivi (Baby Nainika). He works in a bakery there with his assistant Rajendran (Motta Rajendran). Due to Nivi's yearning of a mother, she somehow gets her father to meet her school teacher Annie (Amy Jackson). After some time, Annie takes a liking towards Joseph. However she feels there's more than meets the eye to Joseph. After a quarrel with some local rowdies, they come to take Nivi and Joseph get beaten up in the process. After pleading them to stop, Joseph then retaliates and beats all of them up black and blue and during this time, Annie finds out that Joseph is actually DCP Vijay Kumar and was married to a doctor named Meera (Samantha). What happened to Meera and why is Vijay currently in Kerala? The film contains a huge flashback that reveals everything. How Joseph's past comes back to haunt him and solves all his problems forms the rest of Theri.
Performances: Theri without a surprise, belongs to Vijay. Ilayathalapthy carries the film from start to finish and is as awesome as ever. He is subdued as Jospeh and a killing machine as Vijay Kumar. He is exceptional in both roles and as usual is excellent in sentimental scenes. If you're a Vijay fan, then this film is a must watch.
Samantha is beautiful as Meera and has dubbed for herself and she is very good. Amy Jackson is wasted and looks awkward with glasses and a wig. Motta Rajendran provides ample comedy as usual and is the best comedian in the film.
Baby Nainika is so good that she almost steals the show from Vijay. She is so cute and adorable and her chemistry with Vijay is straight up fire. She is excellent as Nivi.
Veteran director Mahendran is very good as the villain but is given less screen time. Prabhu is alright as a high ranking police chief.
Technicalities: Music and background score by GV Prakash Kumar are excellent. He gave his best for his 50th film as music director. The Theri theme song deserves a special mention. The songs are all picturised very well but one can't help but think disturb the flow of the narrative a bit. Cinematography by George C. Williams is excellent. The visuals during the bus falling scene and the climax and the songs are amazing. The film is mostly shot during the day which helps give it a vibrant feel and look. Dialogues by Atlee and Ramana Girivasan are ok as one expects more punch dialogues in a Vijay movie. Editing by Ruben is alright as the 2nd half drags. Story by Atlee is routine. Art is nice. Direction by Atlee is pretty good. Fights by Dilipp Subbarrayan are amazing. The bus scene deserves a special mention and so does the climax fight.Production Values by Kalaipuli S. Thanu are incredible. The film is visually sound throughout and he has not compromised on the quality of the film at all.
Analysis: I have not seen Raja Rani. Therefore I do not know what Atlee is capable of. I know that the film is a hit. When I heard Atlee got a chance to direct Vijay, I was surprised. But he has exceeded expectations and made a good film for the most part. The biggest problem with Theri is the story. The story is probably the billionth rehash of Baasha. Every Tamil star has probably attempted a story like this before. But Atlee neatly packages the film with all the necessary commercial elements.
As this is a Vijay film, Atlee makes sure there are ample fights and mass scenes throughout the film. The film starts off in a simple way showing Joseph and his daughter. The film really only takes off after the first fight and the flashback proceeds. Atlee is very good at writing sentimental scenes. The thread with the begging kids and the daughter who gets raped is truly emotional and makes you feel for the characters.
The thing is can't understand about this film though is to how it is rated U. A girl is brutally raped, they talk about semen and a rod going inside her, a man's nuts are chopped off, people fall off buildings, Vijay is hit in the head with a huge metal rod, a baby is almost drowned to death, and his wife is shot about 3 times and there's blood everywhere. I'd like to see how this film really got such a "Universal" rating. One thing is for sure, Theri isn't necessarily for kids as it contains some messed up stuff as explained before.
The interval bang is incredible and you expect the film to be as good after if not better. But sadly it is not. It only intensifies the romance between Vijay and Meera and before you know it, the flashback is over. The remaining story of the comeback of Vijay Kumar is good but one feels the film is already dragged up to that point.
Somehow though, Atlee manages to make the film work and makes it enjoyable with his grip on the commercial elements.
On a whole, Theri is an entertaining commercial entertainer. Vijay's spotless performance, excellently composed fights, well written sentiment, good music, and Atlee's performance are the plus points of this action entertainer.
If you can ignore the routine story, then Theri can be given a shot. Just make sure you don't watch it with your kids though, if you have any that is.