New from Peter Spedale on Be Movie See Movie: Movie Review: RRR

The US makes something like 700 films a year. That’s an impressive feat for sure…until you realize Bollywood is a better machine, churning out 1500-2000 films annually. When you’re making that much content, there’s bound to be some bona fide hits in there. I don’t know if RRR is one, but it certainly earns consideration with its inventive setpieces and ageless storytelling. Unless you’re not the type who likes men leaping through the air and overpowering tigers with their bare hands or insane dance offs. In which case we can just stop being friends.

In English, RRR is short for Rise, Revolt, Revenge. In this case, there are two leads rising, revolting, and revenging, on opposite sides. In 1920 India, Komaram Bheem (N. T. Rama Rao Jr.), protector of the Gond tribe, is summoned to action when little Malli (Twinkle Sharma) is abducted by the ruling British royalty Governor Scott (Ray Stevenson) and Catherine (Alison Doody) Buxton. On the other side of the story Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan), and officer in the British army intent on getting a promotion. Spooked by Bheem’s presence, Governor Scott enlists Raju to take down Bheem to earn his promotion, pitting them against one another in a duel of the fates.

Director S. S. Rajamouli knows what he’s doing referencing real life Indian crusaders in RRR. His instincts are right here: when referencing real heroes, make the story as openly heroic as possible. The Buxton’s are hilariously evil villains, unintentionally generating all sorts of laughter at their maniacal contempt toward the Indian population. And if your villains are maniacs, then you have creative license to make Komaram Bheem a superhero! The minute we meet the larger than life Bheem we know we’re in for someone special, as he proves without a doubt he’s the king of animals. Rama Rao Jr. plays Bheem over the top befitting the part: every happiness is joyful, and every sadness is sheer desolation. For a long time the most interesting character is Ram Charan’s Alluri Sitarama Raju, as Rajamouli keeps his motivations secret. The most interesting conflict in the story relates to Raju and Bheem becoming friends, and the internal conflicts they both have sacrificing their friend for their personal missions. This isn’t a movie of giant plot twists, but Charan and Rama Rao Jr. sell the earnest friendship between the crusaders, as well as the emotional heft of their friend in the middle of a life goal. You’ll definitely feel overstuffed with the side plots (the one with Bheem’s love interest is a time suck), but even the mediocre ones help elevate the life’s work of Komaram Bheem and Alluri Sitarama Raju to an epic scale.

And if you’re going for an action epic, your setpieces better bring it. Fortunately, the setpieces in RRR are incredible, some of the best of 2022, and yes, that includes Top Gun and Everything Everywhere. What better way to establish our heroes than give them a giant impossible odds action sequences to overcome? And we’re off! Every 15-20 minutes, Rajamouli shows his gift at choreographing over the top visual splendor, and we get all the possible versions of that we could possibly want. There’s an incredible sing & dance off that stands out even among the crazy action, maybe the best of the best and not one explosion is in sight. Not to say that there aren’t any explosions though: there are multiple raids on a compound, that feature fiery explosions, water explosions, building explosions, motorcycle explosions. You dream it, S. S. Rajamouli delivers it for you. Plus, as these explosions are happening, our heroes transform over and over again, changing up the action each time and making the audience giddy for what batsh*t sequence is coming next.

Good guys fighting bad guys. Dancing. Romance. Family. Freedom. RRR executes the big epic movie to delirious delight, punching, singing, posing, and dancing its way into your heart. In fact, I will stan for giving heroes of the past superpowers. Can you imagine Malcolm X just flying across the sky, or Mother Theresa touch healing every person on the planet?

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One thought on “New from Peter Spedale on Be Movie See Movie: Movie Review: RRR

  1. BTW this is not a bollywood movie! this is a tollywood movie(part of south indian cinema)! India got so many different movie industries thats why its able to curn out so many movies per year

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