The less treaded ‘home-invasion’ genre gets a straight lift in “Game Over”
due to the immensely talented Taapsee Pannu.
Directed by Ashwin Saravanan, “Game Over” is not a typical Bollywood venture as it transcends the regional barriers with its plot that’s akin to Hollywood home invasion dramas. It is a Tamil-Telugu bilingual thriller dubbed in Hindi that stars Taapsee Pannu, as Swapna, the protagonist dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder ( PTSD) and is set in Gurgaon, India.
Frankly, the location really doesn’t even matter as the film is mostly shot in a swanky bungalow and involves only two characters – Swapna and her caretaker Kalamma (played by Vinodhini), until the narrative switches gears and camouflages into an edge-of-the-seat thriller post intermission.
The teasers might have given the cues but the film offers little to predict the twist. There is a casual reference of voyeuristic ‘sick-minded’ psycho killers on the prowl who kill victims without any cause by beheading them and have eluded the police.
We are rather invested in the plight of Swapna – the gamer who works from home, cut off from the humdrum chores of life and her visits to the therapist for curing her achluophobia (fear of dark) that she developed after surviving a tragic incident. Director Saravanan and writer Kaavya Rajkumar explore the psychological space in the first half of “Game Over” and keep you on tenterhooks in the second half. The film becomes exhausting with its iterative turns and reminded me of Tom Cruise’s “End of Tomorrow.” There are moments that are unmistakably thrilling with an impressive background score adding to the impact.
20 years ago, Ram Gopal Varma made “Kaun” that forayed into this territory of cinema and was deemed experimental. Saravanan’s effort is commendable here but it is sustainable only due to the compelling performance of Taapsee Pannu. The actor has an incredible range that salvages the film from getting derailed into occasional lapses. Vinodhini plays a perfect foil to her sinusoidal mood swings, a wave of calmness, and balance to the film’s tonality.
On the whole, “Game Over” is an effective blend of a paranormal-meets-noir thriller that keeps you engrossed till the very end. There are moments of repetitiveness and slowness which can be pardoned but for a rare genre from Indian cinema, this is a must watch.
I will go with 3 out of 5.