Michael

Fumbling for psychological realism in its tale of a Kolkata cop whose accidental killing of a child sends his life into a slow tailspin, Hindi indie "Michael" is further hobbled by blotchy videography and a wholly unconvincing manner of staging would-be dramatic events.

With:
With: Naseeruddin Shah, Mahie Gill, Purav Bhandare, Sabyasachi Chakraborthy, Irawati Harshe Mayadev, Shridhar Watsar, Rudraneel Ghosh. (Hindi, English dialogue)

Fumbling for psychological realism in its tale of a Kolkata cop whose accidental killing of a child sends his life into a slow tailspin, Hindi indie “Michael” is further hobbled by blotchy videography and a wholly unconvincing manner of staging would-be dramatic events. In the lead role, Naseeruddin Shah conveys some measure of believable angst as poor Michael loses his badge, sinks to serving as a projectionist (and pirate) of Bollywood pics, and gets harassed by the young victim’s dad, who threatens to kill the former cop’s own kid in revenge. But “Michael” falls apart long before Michael does.

Working with the late d.p. Somak Mukherjee, director Ribhu Dasgupta hasn’t a clue how to turn docu footage of political protest into a scene of Michael being ordered to fire his weapon into the crowd. From there, the first-time helmer — reportedly inspired by the Cat Stevens song “Father and Son” — clumsily follows the protagonist’s attempts to care for his soccer-playing kid and to make the rent each month. Believing his boy is being targeted for death, Michael goes fully cuckoo in the laughably unhinged final scenes. Tech credits are terrible.

Michael

India

Production: An Anurag Kashyap Films, Tipping Point Films, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, Cat N Mouse Entertainment production. (International sales: Fortissimo Films, Amsterdam.) Produced by Anurag Kashyap, Guneet Monga, Sunil Bohra. Co-producers, Shaiju Nambiadath, Ramesh S. Sharma. Directed by Ribhu Dasgupta. Screenplay, Debaloy Bhattacharya, Nilendu Guha.

Crew: Camera (color, HD, widescreen), Somak Mukherjee; editor, Lionel Fernandez; music, Vinayak Netke, Aatur Soni, B. Gauri; art directors, Kaushik Das, Subrato Barik; costume designer, Umabiju. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Contemporary World Cinema), Sept. 15, 2011. Running time: 97 MIN.

With: With: Naseeruddin Shah, Mahie Gill, Purav Bhandare, Sabyasachi Chakraborthy, Irawati Harshe Mayadev, Shridhar Watsar, Rudraneel Ghosh. (Hindi, English dialogue)

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