In the first few minutes of 'Thunivu', you get a nagging feeling the film is a replica of the popular Netflix series - 'Money Heist'.
After all, the film is about a break-in, but that feeling wanes soon when you realise that the intentions and the plotline are completely different. The ‘Thala’ Ajith-starrer starts off with a bang, where a group of men are planning a bank robbery. Their motive is to steal Rs 500 crore from a popular firm named 'Your Bank'.
The plan is executed in no time by the robbers. Unlike the Netflix series, the robbers are not soft.
In fact, the director H Vinoth does not take any time to establish the characters, giving us a hint of the out-and-out action in store.
The occasional flashbacks tell us a little bit about the lead characters, but the aim is only to help us connect the dots. The plan by the robbers is soon thwarted by a white-bearded man named Dark Devil, who also seems to be there for the heist. What are his intentions and whose side he is on?
H Vinoth is a seasoned director when it comes to financial scam stories. His debut work, 'Sathuranga Vettai' had been a good mix of comedy, drama and a social message. 'Thunivu', however, doesn't balance all these elements as gracefully.
The comic scenes featuring a media chief Mai Pa (played by Mohanan Sundaram) and a police officer Rajesh (Bhagavathi Perumal) trigger some laughs. Even some Ajith dialogues are funny enough, though you are patiently waiting for him to jump to the next scene.
The first half of the film is definitely more enjoyable, as 'Thunivu' gets too stretched thereafter and concludes predictably. Also, the good versus bad sequences are not convincing enough.
The first half offers plenty of action and features some cool dance scenes by Ajith, who invokes Michael Jackson with a moonwalk style. Some of the dialogues are also class. The social message forms the plot in the second half. Though some scenes are moving, the mood of the movie in the second half does not blend well with the initial scenes as the social message and the turn of events are a little too heavy.
Manju Warrier, who has been cast as Kanmani, Dark Devil's partner in crime in the film, is a delight to watch. If her character had been better planned, she would have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Thala. Almost all her scenes offer enough mass that makes you wish she had a little more screen space.
It is also sad that her dance skills were not utilised, despite her potential. The songs and the BGM by Ghibran gel well with the film. The message is also definitely an eye-opener for banks and corporates, but is not striking enough as the aim seems to be only to appease Ajith fans. The twists and turns in 'Thunivu' ensure the film is engaging. However, the drawback is the treatment and the plot’s failure to strike a balance.