Chennai, 14 Jun 2019 7:00 IST
Game Over is one of the most intelligent thrillers of recent times. What makes it really exciting is that it keeps you guessing till the very end, and possibly even after.
It is impossible to categorize Taapsee Pannu’s Game Over into one particular genre because it’s a genre-hopping thriller that teases the audience with its twisted narrative. It starts off as a violent serial-killer thriller and the opening few minutes are really terrifying, but quickly shifts gears as we get introduced to Swapna (Pannu), a video-game designer who is afraid of the dark. As we follow Swapna and learn about a traumatic incident in her life, the story unfolds like a psychological drama. But soon we get a revenge-based paranormal angle as well.
Game Over is centred on Pannu, who plays a character that is being eaten away by a horrible memory. We are never told entirely what’s bothering her, but it is hinted at through a dialogue that she has been a victim of physical assault and the man responsible for it is behind bars.
As Swapna starts getting panic attacks, she contacts her therapist who tells her this is an "anniversary reaction" triggered by the realization that it was around this time in an earlier year that she had been assaulted.
Swapna is terrified that something horrible might happen as the anniversary day nears and she has to fight her worst fears to stay alive.
Game Over is one of the most intelligent thrillers of recent times. What makes it really exciting is that it keeps you guessing right till the end, and possibly even after you have left the cinema hall. It’s a film from which you can draw multiple interpretations based on what you see and each angle you might come up with will still make sense because there is no right way to look at what the film offers.
It’s undoubtedly an invasion thriller, but at the same time it’s a film about women's empowerment, about victim shaming, about coping with depression, about being strong and independent, about being able to overcome our fears.
There are also hints that everything Pannu's Swapna experiences could be merely a manifestation of her fears, or even a dream. And since she plays a video-game designer and we see her playing Pac Man a lot, it could also mean that everything she experiences could be simply inside her head or in a video game.
Director Ashwin Saravanan and co-writer Kaavya Ramkumar deliver an unsettling thriller that not only scares the bejeezus out of viewers but also works as a fitting commentary on woman survivors, especially rape victims. It shows how important it is for women to stay strong and fight back, and this is exactly why the story is centred primarily on two female characters, Swapna and her caretaker.
Taapsee Pannu as the suicidal gamer is terrific in a role that is not easy to essay. If watching her play that character is so traumatic, it’s hard to imagine how she must have felt living it. Nevertheless, she is unbelievably good and a treat to watch in the most difficult scenes of the film.
Vinodhini Vaidyanathan, who plays the caretaker, is equally good. The scenes between her and Pannu bring so much warmth to an otherwise dark and disturbing film that’s nearly flawless but for some pacing issues.
The film’s technicians — particularly composer Ron Yohann and his background score — deserve special mention because if not for them Game Over wouldn’t have been so immersive.
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