Ranbir Kapoor's 'Animal': Sandeep Reddy Vanga's fresh take on a toxic masculinity tale | Review

Ranbir Kapoor in 'Animal'. Photo: IMDb

'Animal', the long-awaited Ranbir Kapoor-Sandeep Reddy Vanga film, has made its debut in theatres. In a nutshell, it's an exhilarating and unpredictable journey, but one might contemplate whether Sandeep Reddy Vanga's penchant for portraying male characters with quasi-superhuman traits and projecting a toxic form of masculinity in the guise of virtue persists in this film, akin to his previous work, 'Kabir Singh'.

Ranbir Kapoor plays an intense character in the film where he is fixated on his father, played by Anil Kapoor. Anil's character isn't the stereotypical abusive father but rather an absent one who used to discipline his son with physical measures when needed. The film leaves unanswered the question of why Ranbir's character developed such an intense obsession. Regrettably, in 'Animal', Ranbir appears to be a more enraged and muscular version of Kabir Singh.

In the initial half, Ranbir is seen navigating with his group of cousins, functioning as both bodyguards and wingmen, engaging in violence to safeguard his father. While the first half exudes a certain stylish flair, the second half descends into chaos with a plethora of random occurrences, including the belated introduction of the villain, Bobby Deol. A significant source of audience frustration lies in Sandeep's apparent disregard for women, reminiscent of Kabir Singh, as the female characters are portrayed as dependent on their male counterparts and lack substantial value.

Ranbir Kapoor's character consistently ignores his wife Geetanjali's (Rashmika Mandanna) needs, even threatening her with physical violence akin to how he mistreats other men. For instance, in the film, Ranbir's character justifies his infidelity while paradoxically expressing a possessive desire to protect his wife, warning her against marrying anyone else in case of his absence.

Given its 'A' rating, the film is saturated with intense violence, ranging from gunfire to brutal acts, making it unsuitable for the faint-hearted. The second half remains unpredictable, leaving viewers unsure about the direction and the late introduction of Bobby Deol. While sharing Ranbir's formidable and violent presence, Bobby Deol's role seems more like a plot device, implemented to conclude the movie rather than serving a substantial purpose.

In terms of performances, Ranbir Kapoor truly takes the spotlight, delivering a one-man show. His dedication is evident, even when portraying his character's most peculiar actions, maintaining a commendable screen presence. Capably executing stunts and other requirements of the role, Ranbir stands out. Anil Kapoor offers a decent performance, embodying the role of a clueless and helpless father bewildered by his son's heinous deeds. While Bobby Deol displays a promising, brooding evil look, it feels like the movie falls short in fully utilizing his potential. As the lead heroine, Rashmika had a significant platform for her performance, yet her lines consistently lacked clarity, and her expressions remained mundane throughout the film. But then again, that is the case with most Sandeep Vanga heroines.

The movie appears more aimless than a narrative exploring a father-son relationship since that dynamic is seldom explored. Instead, we are presented with the mere fact that Ranbir is obsessed with his father. The film lacks a coherent structure, but if you're a genuine fan of intense and violent scenes, this might be the perfect movie for you. Ranbir earns an A for his efforts in the movie, and that might be the sole reason why considering this film for a theatrical experience is worthwhile.

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