Captain Miller offers a strange, sawtoothed, and strong alternative to mass cinema being the masculine, muscular flexing film. Here is a film with violence as both a means and an end. The promise is not that of justice or peace, but recursive, greater violence. There is no end in sight.
Captain Miller trails the thorny journey of Analeesan (Dhanush) from ambivalence towards becoming a man with conscience at the heart of his actions, not convenience, or resignation.
The shape of the villain keeps shifting — the landed royalty, the British — with the victims remaining the same, the residents of the local village. What are they fighting for? To be able to enter the temple and the larger cause of freedom which uneasily hangs over the film.
The film’s language is that of excess, limbic excess, with fire-flung, gun-strewn, gunpowder laced sequences. Siddhartha Nuni’s camera is shaking, quaking really. When it is still, the colours bleed. It is almost poetic.
The division of the film into chapters, however, begins to feel like a forced re-shaping of the film, making the length feel heavier, as the enemies keep getting larger and larger, till the very point of villainy waters down.
A strange beauty that is at the heart of a strange, relentless violence. This tradition Matheswaran continues in Captain Miller, of seeking beauty in the corners of the very thing that contradicts it — gore.