Review: Deeraj Vaidhy, the debutant director of Jil Jung Juk, seems to belong to that rare breed of filmmakers in Tamil cinema — one who uses visuals to tell his story. Aided by his cinematographer Shreyaas Krishna, he gives us flamboyant visuals (the film is set in a not-so-distant apocalyptic future), which are further enhanced by Vishal Chandrashekar’s boisterous score (that, at times, drowns out the dialogues). In that sense, the film heralds the arrival of a promising talent. But, the film, as such, is somewhat of a minor let-down because the writing is not as strong as the visuals and, while it is definitely offbeat and brave, it doesn’t feel as ambitious or as remarkable as it wants us to take it. The film has an attitude that is instantly likeable but look beneath all the coolth and the quirks and what we see is a plot that is formulaic and even predictable.
Here, Jil (Siddharth), Jung (Avinash) and Juk (Sananth) are tasked by their boss Deivanayagam (Amarendran) with getting a car containing cocaine from one place to the other. But they lose the car in spectacular fashion, and decide to pass off a similar-looking car as the actual one. During this effort, they run into trouble with Deivanayagam’s rival, Rolex Rawther (Radha Ravi) and Attack (Dheena), a drug supplier. So, they plot to pit them against one another and get away unharmed. But will their plan work?
The jerky narrative follows a structure that we have seen in some of the black comedies (Neram, Moodar Koodam, Burma and Naanum Rowdy Dhaan) over the past few years. We have a lead who aspires to punch above his weight, his sidekicks who are funny and weird in a good way, ganglords who are bitter rivals waiting for an excuse to shoot down each other, goof-ups, misunderstandings and a climax where the leads manage to save themselves by pitting the various players against one another. This could still have worked, but we are hardly able to get the dire situation that the leads are in. One reason for this is that, in his efforts to give us eccentric villains, Deeraj makes them less threatening.
There are some big laughs, courtesy the excellent duo of Avinash Raghudevan and Sananth, and Bipin, who nicely plays off on the Harahara Mahadevaki WhatsApp viral audio series. But the problem is that they aren’t consistent. For every joke that works, there is an equally laboured (the bit involving Rawther’s prostate cancer) or dull one (the scene where the trio try to pass off a drug addict as some from Uganda). To some extent, the director offsets such disappointments by providing us with a steady stream of quirkiness — Jil’s blue-streaked hair, Juk’s colour blindness, a cocaine-coated car that is in bubblegum pink colour, butterfly effect, film references (one involving Karagatakkaran’s Soppana Sundari joke and the other, a mandatory hat tip to Ajith), animated sequences that play out like cartoons and comic book frames, and a shoot-out that plays out over a funky Carnatic musical piece, but the climax, which is over-stretched and cliched, leaves us with a film that we admire but cannot wholeheartedly fall in love with.