Director: Karthik Subbaraj
Cast: Prabhudheva, Sanath and Indujha
Karthik Subbaraj is one of the few modern-day filmmakers who has garnered a fan following mainly because of his work. His films such as Pizza, Jigarthanda and Iraivi are proof to the fact that he’s no one film wonder and he’s someone still with a lot of untapped potential. His films so far shone predominantly due to terrific writing and Mercury, his latest outing, is no different when it comes to writing, which is undeniably the film’s biggest strength.
Mercury has been promoted as a silent film from the very beginning, making it the prime reason for audiences to experience the film in cinemas. It’s been over 30 years since the release of Kamal Hassan’s Pushpak and the current generation of viewers haven’t experienced a silent film in cinemas. Does that quality as a reason enough to catch Mercury in cinemas? I’d definitely say yes because it was a one-of-its-kind experience.
Like most horror films, Mercury revolves around a bunch of friends are on a holiday in a desolate place on a hill station. The interesting part is they’re deaf and dumb, but it doesn’t stop them from enjoying their lives. They dance to very loud music. On a midnight drive, they accidentally kill a man and what follows forms the crux of the film.
The film is packed with ample chills and thrills. As we witness the characters killed one by one, we’re not sure if a ghost is at play or is there a killer on the prowl. Subbaraj’s films are packed with twists, especially in the end, and Mercury is no different. While most would find the ending predictable, Subbaraj still needs to be lauded for making it exciting till a point with his writing.
Featuring mostly actors who’ve just worked in a film or two, Subbaraj extracts genuine performances from his ensemble cast. Prabhudheva in a totally unconventional role is a treat to watch. I’d leave it to the audiences to watch and decide if he’s playing a zombie or a ghost.
Mercury touches upon on the topic of industrial exploitation of small towns. Incidents such as the tragic Bhopal gas leak come to mind when Subbaraj turns the spotlight on this angle, and he does it very subtly, without making it scream preachy. The narrative is well backed by terrific sound design and background score. Given that it’s a silent film, the eeriness in silence is captured beautifully, and this warrants a visit to the theatre to enjoy the film.