Animal Movie Review: Let me state it from the outset – I didn't like Animal. I'm pretty sure Sandeep Reddy Vanga won't be fond of this review, and if you're a fanboy of the director, I suggest you stop reading now. You might not appreciate what I have to say ahead. Animal is nearly a three-and-a-half-hour-long slog indulging in senseless violence, misogyny, and abuse that never relents. And it's high - high on d*ck energy. Not only do most conversations and humour revolve around manhood and virility, but there's also a scene where Ranbir Kapoor literally hangs d*ck. Sandeep Reddy Vanga uses his metaphorical gatling gun to obliterate any trace of political correctness, seemingly a big 'F U' to the critics who disliked Arjun Reddy/Kabir Singh. He even introduces Nazi allegories without a damn, and then goes onto acknowledge that later on, needling his harshest critic in telling he is aware of what he is doing. Viral! Animal Release Witnessed Massive Crowd Outside Theatre To Watch 6 AM Show in Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh (Watch Video).

Animal revolves around Ranvijay Singh (Ranbir Kapoor) and his obsessive love for his inattentive father and business tycoon, Balbir Singh (Anil Kapoor). When he exhibits criminal behavior as a teenager, Balbir sends Ranvijay to America to study at a boarding school. If he had sent him to therapy, we might have had to endure fewer man-child tantrums and the movie would have been two and a half hour less. Anyway, upon Ranvijay's return, he is still annoyed of being less preferred than his son-in-law, and gets thrown out of the house after a verbal spat. He also manages to elope with Geethanjali (Rashmika Mandanna), on whom he has been harbouring an obsession (I really don't want to call it 'love') since his early teens.

A few years later, Ranvijay returns home again, learning his father has been shot by unknown assailants. Determined to protect his 'papa' at any cost, Ranvijay recruits his big band of Sikh cousins as his gang and seeks out those who want Balbir dead. Much to the increasing dismay of his wife, Ranvijay's obsession with protecting his father peels away the remaining shreds of humanity within him.

Watch the Trailer of Animal:

Look, I don't mind films centered around negative protagonists, who are pretty despicable characters, like Ranbir in this film. Despite my aversion to the toxicity displayed by the protagonist and an inability to relate to his actions, I still didn't hate Kabir Singh the film, as I've seen relationships like Kabir and Preeti around me, so I could connect with the plot. Animal offers no such solace, reveling in its perversity, toxic behavior against women, and numbing violence. When I see the men in my theatre enjoying this display of toxicity with cheers and laughs, that's where I draw the line between creative liberty and the glorified portrayal of negative behavior.

A Still From Animal

Where Animal worked to some extent for me is in depicting Ranvijay's unhealthy relationship with his father. The movie doesn't hide that he is a product of bad fatherhood, and even he knows that. All he craves is some attention from his father, and this storytelling thread was, by far, relatable. Well, at least in the first half, because in Ranvijay's downward spiral and creepy behavior in the second half, even this aspect takes a backseat, only to return in the finale, where tears are shed, apologies are made, and finally, one woman decides to walk out on her abusive partner.

I have to admit there is something commendable about the direction of Vanga, even if his writing is all over the place, as is his editing. The way he frames certain confrontation scenes and uses Harshwardhan Rameshwar's background score to heighten the tension is admirable, if it wasn't for the despicability on display. A particular scene that stood out for me is in the first half when Ranvijay barges into his father's room, and the camera swivels around all the faces present while the music swells. Another instance where his direction shines is in the much-talked-about lengthy pre-interval action sequence involving a transportable gatling gun, massive axe-fight scenes, Upendra Limaye's cameo, and a bizarre conversation around underwear. Again, it's the framing and the score that elevate the sequence, but if you find it lacking, it has more to do with the scene's placement in the film and how it's edited. Sam Bahadur Movie Review: Vicky Kaushal's Showy Performance Isn't Enough to Make This Superficial Biopic Work!

A Still From Animal

For one, such a massive action scene deserved a good buildup; instead, it starts randomly when some villains attack a hotel property where Ranvijay is making a deal. Secondly, the way the stunts are stitched together doesn't leave me with a feeling of jaw-dropping stunness, something the John Wick films excel at. And thirdly, it overstays its welcome by being a bit too long, and most of the best bits had already been spoiled in the trailers, including how the scene ends.

Unfortunately, this was the last scene that felt like a redeemer for me in the movie, as the second half is where the main set of problems begins. The film gets cruder from hereon, and Ranbir's character goes further down the rabbit hole in displaying some abominable behavior. The rest of the women are simply mute to the goings-on and abuses - physical or verbal - or occasionally react harshly, like when Geetanjali confronts Ranvijay for betraying her trust, only to fall in line just a couple of minutes later.

A Still From Animal

It isn't just the display of unhealthy behavior that's the problem here. The second half just doesn't know where to draw a line when it comes to cutting down on scenes or where to take the story next. There are influences of The Godfather and Mahabharata (Ranbir did a better film that was a blend of both years back in Raajneeti), but they don't always land. Bobby Deol, who makes his appearance as the film's big baddie, is only there for a handful of scenes, and he doesn't get much time to register why Ranvijay should be worried about him. But yes, Vanga gives him the one scene where he can be an ass to the three women who are married to him, and also where one of them praises his, you know, little 'Deol'. Seriously, what's with this movie and d*cks?

A Still From Animal

So by the time these two man-children duke it out on the airstrip bare-bodied (inadvertently evoking bad memories of a similar shirtless fight scene in Race 3, also involving Bobby Deol and 'family'), you are not only exhausted by the overabundance of toxic masculinity but also by the never-ending runtime.

Yes, Ranbir Kapoor gives a completely immersive performance here, subjecting himself wholly to Vanga's vision and sticking to it without going wrong anywhere. It's just that I didn't come out liking it. Anil Kapoor is impressive, be it in the scenes where he looks at his son's problematic behavior with a chained helplessness or the scenes where he lashes out at him. Rashmika's act in the movie was subjectively better than what the trailer unjustifiably did to her. She certainly has a bold role in depiction, but not at all in writing. Tripti Dimri has a significant character in the second half, who is charmed by the hero's ahem... ahem... penile obsession.

A Still From Animal

PS: There is a post-credit scene that teases that this mindless, numbing show of violence will continue into a sequel that's called Animal Park. God help us all!

Final Thoughts

Despite commendable performances, particularly by Ranbir Kapoor and Anil Kapoor and some flashes of filmmaking finesse, Animal's descent into crude storytelling and a never-ending runtime overshadows any redeeming qualities. Sandeep Reddy Vanga's vainglorious attempt to defy political correctness falls flat, as the film ultimately lacks the substance needed for a compelling and engaging cinematic experience.


(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Dec 01, 2023 02:19 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website