Dheepan is a realisation of what is happening today in the East. It shows the true struggles that normal people have to go through just to feel safe and get a roof over their heads.
It isn’t your usual movie that is categorized in the genres of Crime and Drama. Without a doubt it is a Crime and Drama film, there is a gang that rule the block of flats and there is drama between Dheepan and Yalini and their relationship to stay safe. But usually in a crime drama film there is at least 3 or 4 shootouts but with Dheepan there is only one. It’s not a big shootout like you would get in James Bond for example, which is what I was expecting from Dheepan with him being a Tamil warrior. I would have left out the mediocre finale shootout and kept it safe with Dheepan and Yalini leaving the block of flats and going to England, but I guess they wanted Dheepan to be the hero and save the girl scenario, which again was very predictable when you realised what was happening.
Dheepan (Jesuthasan Antonythasan) is a character that you have a love hate relationship with. He tries his hardest to make it clear to Yalini that he will always love his wife and that this relationship between them will never be. He also works hard on making sure ‘the family’ do not get deported or found out that they’re not really a family. With just these examples you feel the frustration coming from Dheepan, whereas you also feel the anxiousness and heartbreaking view of Yalini in these situations. Making you feel this love hate relationship for him because of the way he acts and speaks to her.
With regards to Jesuthasan Antonythasan, I thought he played Dheepan rather well but I can’t compare this performance with anything else that he has done, due to the fact that I haven’t seen him elsewhere. This is the first screening I have seen Jesuthasan in and I can say I loved his presence, his emotions felt real due to the situations that were recurring throughout the film. But most of all, his confidence in taking the lead of a father figure that was acted within the acting of Dheepan which had a love hate relationship as mentioned previously.
Yalini (Kalieaswari Srinivasan), is the ‘mother & wife’ to Dheepan and Illayaal (the child). Her role in the film is to make sure an elderly man is looked after in a block of flats across the yard, but the twist is the old man is the drug lord’s father. There is no other way of saying this but, Yalini is the sort of character that really frustrated me through this entire film. First of all she doesn’t understand the risks of keeping the ‘family’ a secret. Second she is the character that is very needy towards Dheepan wanting certain things and wanting him to do things for her without thinking of the consequences. Overall the character doesn’t fulfil the storyline of keeping the secret of the ‘family’, but this does bring tension to certain situation, which does flow but majority of the film it doesn’t satisfy the role of a ‘wife’.
Kalieaswari Srinivasan really does play her well. She isn’t superb or incredible but she plays Yalini in a way that is common with this sort of role. By showing her love emotion towards the elderly man, taking care of him she really does show that soft side of Yalini which is refreshing to see. I will also give Kalieaswari credit for her presences towards Dheepan, taking away the character and just looking at how she performs is like a raging bull in certain situations, you can tell she puts in the effort in these scenes showing the anger that Yalini would if they were real people. I felt frustration but that was towards Yalini the character and Kalieaswari played her really well.
Dheepan was well-recognized in the summer’s festivals it was nominated for a few awards. The one that did stand out to the world of cinema was the winner of Cannes Film Festival, Palme d’Or. It was a shock that Dheepan won due to the other nominees that it was up against, films like Carol, The Assassin and Our Little Sister, which if you have seen these movies you would have thought they would have won compared to Dheepan. Yet again you can see why Dheepan won with regards to the realistic and realism to what is happening today with the civil wars in the East and the refugees coming into Europe.
3 / 5
Dir: Jacques Audiard
Scr: Jacques Audiard, Thomas Bidegain, Noe Debre
Cast: Jesuthasan Antonythasan, Kalieaswari Srinivasan, Claudine Vinsasithamby
Prd: Pascal Caucheteux
DOP: Eponine Momenceau
Music: Nicolas Jaar
Run time: 115 mins
Dheepan is in cinemas now