3 Good

The Body

#FinalVerdict

The Body is a thrilling thriller that plays artfully with horror elements. It knows how to entertain and for the most part, it keeps you hooked with quick twists, good looking flashbacks and exciting intrigues.

First things first! Although The Body is an official remake of the Spanish mystery thriller El Cuerpo, it's not a blatant rip-off. A lot of modifications are done to provide enough thrills which the audience have not experienced on the Hindi screen. Ever. For those who want some 'hatke' stuff, The Body offers enough twists and turns to keep their interest alive. The screenplay gives you no time to ponder since it unfolds at a feverish pace. Also, the assorted characters and their tracks keep you on tenterhooks all through.

The sequence of events and the pace at which the drama unfolds comes as a bolt from the blue. At times, the impact is truly spellbinding. The Body is full of astonishments. The snake-and-ladder game between Rishi Kapoor and Emraan Hashmi subsequently is equally captivating. The sequence of events that lead to a truly nail-biting culmination, the razor-sharp dialogue and of course, the overall suspense... The Body takes the suspense angle to a new altitude altogether, emerging into an exceptionally constructed mystery. Director Jeethu Joseph has a strong control of the material and he executes it with aplomb and composure. Multiple flashbacks notwithstanding, The Body unfolds over a single night, creating the intensely compelling feeling that events are playing out in real-time.

To build an intricate story, story writer Oriol Paulo relies on a game of perspectives that start from the most classic of the narrative axioms of any self-respecting thriller: nothing is really what it seems, and the interplay of the various points of observation feed this mechanism on which The Body constructs its layered structure. The roles of victims and perpetrators tend to continually overturn thanks to the numerous joints that are hidden during the scarce two-hour film, always moving the lens one step further. With a clever play of flashbacks embedded in the story, often almost without interruption, related to the past of the characters that help to understand them much better, director Jeethu Joseph lets us discover the events that constitute the connective fabric of the story, but above all it succeeds in the not easy operation to maintain tension at high levels with urgent rhythms, basing oneself at first on tones of ghost story and horror and then turning sharply to those of the more typical thriller.

Building a tale steeped in growing tension, using not only the claustrophobic and anything but reassuring morgue spaces but also a fine play of dim and tremulous lights and shadows and sounds, director Jeethu Joseph builds an old-fashioned Hitchcock-style thriller, in which the scattered pieces (an eye to every detail, even the most insignificant) look like crazy chips that only towards the culmination, thanks to the classic twist, magically end up in their place.

The Body succeeds in creating a classic-looking, straightforward crime film that does not need any specific parapsychological allusions or supernatural events but still conveys the "mystery" character. From its very first minutes, The Body shows what kind of thriller it is. It is clearly based on the creation of a claustrophobic atmosphere and is constantly preparing for its overthrow. These two focal points succeed in doing the above, as the viewer feels that none of the possible explanations offered to him in the mystery is sufficient and at the same time the final solution is relatively unpredictable without being ridiculous. Having already conquered these, it is a given that the film works well. However, its scope is limited from the outset, with director Jeethu Joseph seems to have invested the least in this film to achieve the essentials. Thus, he ignores some script holes and allows his film, though for the most part tight and measured, to relax rhythmically just before the end. The main problem with The Body is that the resolution feels just too incredible and too constructed. The story stagnates slightly towards the beginning of the second hour.

Having said that, there's a remote possibility that you may solve the mystery before the protagonist gets to it in the finale. You can't help but stay hooked and wrapped to the twisted characters and disturbing situations that The Body offers. The finale, sure enough, is all-important in a film of this genre. In this case, it's astonishing, powerful and also heartrending. The film delves into deep, dark secrets and that makes the conclusion one of the most satisfying wrap-ups one has witnessed in a movie of this variety.

On the technical side, the production design (Prem Navas) and the detailing attached to the movie couldn't be more authentic and adds incredible value to the project. Visually too, the frames capture the nervousness and uneasiness of the characters and also the setting with aplomb (DoP: Satheesh Kurup). The music (Arko and Shameer Tandon) is situational. The songs may not feature on your fav list, but a couple of numbers are fascinating nonetheless. In fact, the songs are well integrated into the narrative, driving the story forward every time they appear. The dialogue are taut and transfixing.

The history of the film revolves mainly around the characters played on screen by Rishi Kapoor, Emraan Hashmi, Vedhika and Sobhita Dhulipala. Rishi Kapoor gives life to his character of the inspector in charge of solving the case. Behind him, he has a sad past from which he usually gets a certain bad temper that his teammates try to restrain. The earnestness and authenticity with which he enacts his character cannot be expressed in a few sentences. That would be doing gross injustice to the actor's abilities, frankly. Emraan Hashmi plays the sad young husband who has just become a widower, and now (and to top it off) sees how his wife's body disappears from the morgue without a trace. To say that his interpretation seemed irregular to me, offered everything: good, great and other bad moments. Being fair and, making a general balance, I will say that the cotton test finally passed with solvency. Sobhita Dhulipala is one of those actresses that endow her characters with great charisma and screen presence. She is one of those actresses who sell you alone the price of admission. And in this film, she performs another great performance with a character that "marked the whole movie". Vedhika looks gorgeous and delivers an admirable performance. A talent to watch out for. She's first-rate. Every other actor in the film -- in a brief role or otherwise -- stays fresh in your memory after the screening has concluded.

Irrespective of how it performs at the box-office, The Body deserves to be watched for director Jeethu Joseph's attention to detail, his watchmaking precision and Machiavellian story. The director takes up an attention-grabbing premise and spins a tale that makes the viewer a participant of sorts. While the cop tries hard to solve the jigsaw puzzle, the spectator, with his mind wide alert, gets intrigued by what he observes and perceives and is keen to get to the bottom of the mystery himself/herself. That, in my opinion, is why this suspense drama works.