HIT movie review: Vishwak Sen stands out in an engaging suspense thriller; Sailesh Kolanu makes promising debut
If you love crime dramas, HIT is a thrilling experience, which falters a bit in the end.
HIT (Homicide Interventionn Team) follows the journey of Vikram Rudraraju, a tough cop, who takes over a case to trace the whereabouts of a missing girl named Preethi.
It is staged like a thriller since Vikram is also racing against time to find his longtime girlfriend Neha (Ruhani Sharma), who disappears in a similar fashion. The rest of the story is about how Vikram solves the case, and unravels the mystery behind what happened to the two.
The premise of the story might sound quite familiar but the difference lies in how newcomer Sailesh Kolanu, who wrote and directed the film, treats the characters, and evokes a sense of dread every now and then. The focus of the storytelling is as much on solving a puzzle as is about the emotional toll it takes on its protagonist. This changes the texture of the film and makes every reaction, every haunting memory, and even fire, brim out with details which are necessary to understand what drives the protagonist.
It is not just another suspense thriller which gives you some details about a crime, leaving vital clues for the finale. In fact, the method in which Vikram solves the case becomes secondary in the larger scheme of things, because Sailesh keeps pushing you to get inside Vikram’s head and listen to the voice, which keeps telling him to expect the worst. For someone who gets panic attacks, just from the mere sight of fire, there is a reason why Vikram’s approach always has a sense of urgency. He does not want to witness another nightmare in front of his eyes because the scars of his past are still fresh in his mind.
This is also applicable to us because a significant part of the story is set in the outer ring road of Hyderabad, where a young girl finds herself stranded and looking for help. The horrific true crime from December 2019 in Hyderabad, the memories of which are still fresh in our minds, casts its shadow all over the film. Thankfully, the film does not exploit the real incident but triggers a visceral reaction subconsciously.
What makes HIT engrossing is how it treats the lead character. Vikram, who suffers from post-traumatic stress, relies on Valium to keep his sanity. His insomnia and anger make him restless. The roadblocks which he keeps facing at every turn manifold his frustration. Quite rarely has a character been developed to this extent in recent times. Sailesh Kolanu fills plenty of details in the script to give us a clear picture of Vikram’s fears, nightmares, and also, his intelligence. He has a nose for crime, which helps him solve mysteries quickly, although some people in the police department do not like his attitude.
For a film that has very few jump-scares or adrenaline-pumping moments, Kolanu still manages to make HIT an immersive experience. Vishwak Sen is in terrific form as Vikram Rudraraju. He maintains the intensity in his performance till the end. Ruhani Sharma fits the part quite well. Although she has very little screen time, she makes it count each time she appears on screen. The rest of the cast fit in their respective roles quite well.
In a film where there is so much to soak in, perhaps the only loose thread is its climax. This is the only element in the story which jolts you out of a terrific experience. It comes across like an odd fit from the rest of the story.
HIT is also one of the few Telugu films in recent years, which demand your attention both visually and aurally.
Cinematographer Manikandan keeps it real in terms of his choice of lighting and colour palette, which accentuates the grim mood of the narrative. There is not a single frame which looks out of place or stylish just for the sake of it. Perhaps, it is meant to reflect Vikram’s state of mind because as tough as he might be, he also fears the worst each time. Even the romantic portions between Vishwak and Ruhani have a sepia tone to evoke a nostalgic feeling.
Vivek Sagar’s background score is outstanding. He fills the world of HIT with so much dread, with a unique composition of soundtrack, it makes the whole film quite engrossing. And Garry, editor, deserves equal praise for maintaining the tempo of the narrative.
Kolanu makes a promising debut with this moody suspense thriller. There is no denying he is a talent to watch out for. I could not help but think of Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners, a 2013 suspense drama about a father’s search for his missing daughter. Towards the end of that film, Hugh Jackman finds himself trapped in a basement with no way of escaping. In HIT, Vikram Rudraraju is still a prisoner of his past, but one can only wonder if he has found a closure.
A big thumbs up for the film. If you love crime dramas, HIT is a thrilling experience, which falters a bit in the end.
Rating: 3.25 stars
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