Kennedy Movie Review | Anurag Kashyap's Bracing Return to Form Lacks the Child-like Glee and Shock of Some of His Earlier Work

Anupama Chopra

Anurag Kashyap's Bracing Return to Form

Kennedy is not a film looking to find its truth in headlines. It’s a stylized descent into the personal hell of a murderer. For writer-director Anurag Kashyap, after the missteps of Dobaaraa and Almost Pyaar with DJ Mohabbat, it’s also a bracing return to form. 

Violence has long been Anurag Kashyap's metier

Kashyap's cinema has revelled in blood and broken bodies but in Kennedy, the child-like glee and shock of some of his earlier work, is missing. In many of the scenes, the camera is placed at a distance from the bloodshed.

The Evil World of Kennedy

Kennedy is a killer but the world he inhabits is so corrupt that becoming a murderer for hire almost seems like a legitimate response. The evil that the narrative hints at is much larger and all-encompassing – in one scene, a character asks: "Yeh desh kaun chala raha hai?" And then provides the answer himself: "Desh woh log chala rahe hain jo sarkar ko palte hain"

An Atmospheric Mood Piece

Kennedy works as an atmospheric mood piece – the cinematography by Sylvester Fonseca is superb. The music by Aamir Aziz and Raghav Bhatia aka Boyblanck underlines the film’s combative streak. Besides the songs, Anurag also uses elaborate orchestral music (recorded by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra).

The Tragedy of Kennedy

Kennedy is set during the Covid-era and in many scenes, characters wear masks. This includes Uday whose mask, which has a man’s lower jaw printed on it, makes him even more terrifying. Uday’s tragedy is that underneath that mask, his face is also frozen into an emotionless mask.  There is no escape for him from himself or the many he has killed. 

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