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Animal (2023) Review: Cinema As Toxic Art

Animal (2023) Review: Cinema As Toxic Art

Animal (2023) review

He’s a strange animal. Brawny, brusque and burning, he seethes with unrequited love for his father. Singed by maniacal adoration for an uncaring, absent paterfamilias, he externalises his hurt and anger. He is protective of his sisters and is determined to save them from predatory eyes and groping hands. He wields an automatic like a toy gun and shoots at will, a random shower of bullets in a baroque crescendo, and hopes all will be well!

At his heart, he is an animal in pain. He is hurting; what redeems him is his love for his family. He fights men in shadows, men who wear masks and steel facial armour, and makes mincemeat of them. He is misogynistic and masochistic but that’s him, take it or take a walk, no questions answered, no apologies offered. He has a romantic bone in him but that tickles rarely. He makes love defying gravity, so he is cool that way.

He is a strange animal. An alpha male, he is crass, gross, harbours and pedals regressive notions about women, jokes about having fun outside marriage, dares a woman to lick his shoe to prove her love for him et al, but, dear viewer, before this raises your hackles, do remember that he is an anti-hero and cares two hoots for what you think. And it is in this brazen un-apologia, this wanton act of self-destruction, this abandonment of finesse and embracing of pejoratives, and in blowing to smithereens the myth of an evangelical superhero that Ranbir Kapoor, with his overgrown beard, pot belly, naked walk, perverse talk, self-loathing and obsessive filial fixation, excels.

He is an anti-hero alright and there is blood and gore, and guns blazing in a staccato operatic symphony and the weak and the squeamish can go scoot, says the pretender Tarantino Vanga. Pretender? Because unlike the languid, blood blotches as still life and bullets in freeze frame in the master’s oeuvre, here the blood is much in the face. That ain’t art to me! And the songs, albeit folksy, are overblown.

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Wonder what excesses will abound, what stranger creatures will crawl out in Animal Park, cinema as toxic art 2.0!