A drama, starring Amitabh Bachchan, Raghuveer Yadav, Annu Kapoor and Dhritiman Chatterjee, could have been spectacular in a conversation-inspired made-to-thrilles set up. The face, directed by Rumi Jaffrey, misses the impression of a mile and more. It leaves you with a depressing sense of a lost opportunity.
- Release date: 27 August 2021 (India)
- Director: Rumi Jaffery
- Producer: Anand Pandit
- Story by: Ranjit Kapoor
Set in an isolated, luxurious colonial mansion in a snow-capped valley, four retired veterans of the law play a serious game. A judge (Chatterjee), a prosecutor (Bachchan), a defense lawyer (Kapoor) and an executioner (Yadav), are friends who conduct mock tests with any stranger who visits this beautiful house.
By assumption, the stranger is guilty. Which in itself is a strange premise. A young girl (Riya Chakraborty) works as a domestic help, paints like a pro and sometimes behaves like a weird child. Siddhant Kapoor plays a mute man, meeting a tableau of people demanding justice beyond the limits of law.
Emraan Hashmi is a stranger in mock trials, caught in a blizzard and is a corporate honor. He is reluctant at first but agrees to participate in the game, which eventually leads to the revelatory and rather lame climax.
The goal of the face is to pursue the current fast-paced pursuit of ambitions, wealth and success. It also makes a didactic statement on the state of India’s judicial system. Only it explains the point too much and tries to be clever like a story book, which doesn’t hold.
The conversation drives this film. Sometimes, they do a good job. Watching veteran actors like Kapoor, Yadav and Bachchan effortlessly watch dense Hindi dialogues and post-modern couplets evokes memories of solid writing in Hindi films of the olden days. But even these conversations take a toll on its pace and slow it down to a point where the viewer becomes restless.
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For example, Bachchan, gentle and subtle in his tone and expression changes, dressed like Dumbledore from Harry Potter, has an unusually long and telling monologue at the end. This in itself is a scathing commentary on the tendency of society to move forward in spite of gross injustice.
It also relies heavily on academic debate about the anatomy of rape, from which victims and their families suffer at times beyond just the incident itself. In Mr. Bachchan’s baritone stating hard facts about social behavior, one cannot simply find the connection that pertains to the film’s plot.
All this explains where the faces fall short in telling a gripping and gripping story. Conversation-heavy movies, in themselves, aren’t always boring. Classics like Glengarry Glen Ross or 12 Angry Men are all talking. However, here the talk is taken to such a high and moral high that it completely drowns out the entertainment.
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With classy cinematography by Binod Pradhan, and rather catchy art decorations, the face had done a lot for itself. Hashmi, as is often the case, is wasted in another mediocre film, despite delivering a taut performance. Yadav intrigues with his few words and Kapoor matches Mr Bachchan’s performance.
Chatter is measured. Chakraborty, whose on-screen presence conjures up sick memories of bizarre media trials, looks weak for his part. But he has very little to do in the film, just like Krystle D’Souza, who is unable to evoke any emotion in the film.
The credit for the film’s minor writing work goes to the film’s actors; That there isn’t a star hierarchy among the retired characters testifies to their commitment to a good portion. The film is dramatic enough to make you wonder if a good drama adaptation can do its concept more justice.
Jaffrey and Ranjit Kapoor set out to write about the rush of ambition on social behavior and morality. But too much writing and too little plot will make you want a lot from this movie.
For those who enjoy watching actors complement each other and have an interest in theatrical arts, faces are worth seeing in movie theaters with masks.