Eagle Review: A Fun Second Half Rescues This Ravi Teja Film From Crashing

Eagle aims to be different but some of its creative choices feel forced
Eagle Review
Eagle Review

Director: Karthik Gattamneni

Writers: Karthik Gattamneni, Manibabu Karanam

Cast: Ravi Teja, Anupama Parameswaran, Navdeep

Duration: 159 mins

Available in: Theatres

Eagle's aspiration to be different is both its boon and bane. On the positive side, its non-linear structure positions it differently from a regular actioner. On the flip side, this very non-linear screenplay doesn't feel warranted and comes across as a gimmick to make up for the cracks in its story. For instance, the story has not one but nearly a half dozen narrators, as Nalini (Anupama Parameswaran) tracks down the story of Sahadev Varma (Ravi Teja), a cotton farmer from Talakona whose deadly past seems to startle even RAW and the government of India. This means that all the big events in the story are already over and it's Nalini's job to piece it together and present a cohesive version of it to her readers. But her pursuit for truth itself can be incohesive and even frustrating, at times.

Eagle is decidedly all over the place. It places all the chapters — some titles are amusing, like 'Pattapagalu - Paddhathaina Dhaadi' and 'Aata - Aadhunika Veta' — in front of us and jumbles them. The problem with this treatment is that the various perspectives aren't utilised to reveal different facets about the protagonist or the story, like you'd expect a Rashomon-like screenplay to do. They merely contribute to the progression of events or fill in the blanks (like the connection between a Naxalite and terrorists), even though it comes at the risk of disrupting the flow just when the screenplay manages to grab your attention. At one point, Nalini stops a person from narrating the story and proceeds to go meet another character to hear the rest of the story, and it only makes me wonder if she really cares about the story at all. As a result, the first half feels highly incohesive, even though individual sequences work just fine. The intermission sequence, set in the cotton factory, for instance, is quite enjoyable.

Ravi Teja in Eagle
Ravi Teja in Eagle

While this screenplay is a double-edged sword, it does create some rewarding moments when it works. A chapter named 'Aata - Aadhunika Veta', for instance, is about Sahadev defending his house from attackers, who come at him on different levels and the sequence is presented from the perspective of a PUBG-obsessive kid — it is a blast while it lasts and it's evident that the filmmaker is having fun planting game-like elements in the sequence. The first and final act of the same sequence, narrated by different characters, have a slightly different tone. With Vikram (2022) and the KGF films having popularised cool weaponry, it has become a challenge for filmmakers to come up with inventive weapons. What Karthik Gattamneni and his team achieve at one point in 'Margasira - Madhyaratri', the finale of the battle, is surprising and fun.

A still from Eagle
A still from Eagle

Despite its ambition to be different, it does take a slight detour into a predictable romantic zone in the second half but even here, the film doesn't forget guns. The love story featuring Kavya Thapar's Rachana (which is essentially stalking in the beginning before progressing into something else) starts with a gun, functions because of a gun, and even ends because of a gun. And for a film that barely has any emotional crux, it derives its emotion in the climax from this backstory, serving a neat closure. While it's hard not to be reminded of some films while watching Eagle, there are moments where it does fly high. But you only wish it soared higher.

Watch the Official Trailer of Eagle

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