Long has it been since I last felt like a helpless fly, stuck dead center in the webs of a spider, but Super Deluxe (2019) succeeds in sticking the audience into the spiral of its folds. A film, perhaps constructed to voice out the director’s thoughts on life and the themes that surround it, delivers intriguing multiple interrelated storylines with dark humor and philosophy.
Four stories with characters, each with their own beliefs and faith, are tested when they are placed in situations that occur out of happenstance. Through each one of their stories, we feel a myriad of emotions in accordance with the crazy events that transpire. We have a story of a couple that gets into a situation that puts tension into their already strained marriage. The story of a transgender who comes back home after several years to reconnect with his estranged family. The story of a son who gets a rude shock when he finds out about his mother and her life as a porn actress. The story of a man who becomes doubtful over the faith he has in God. Giving away anything else of the plot would ruin the fun as well as take away the time and effort the director has painstakingly taken to flesh out the story in this slow-burner.
The film’s magic lies in the committed performance of all the actors. Vijay Sethupathi, playing a transgender, does it a whole lot better than anyone else has ever done in Tamil Cinema history. His role, as Shilpa, gets the best-written character arc in the story and makes you question your perspective on humanity, freedom of choice and happiness. Skin-crawling and heart-breaking, one scene that revolves around Shilpa in the Police Station, where he gets sexually assaulted by an officer will stand out as one of the best moments of the film. Fahaad Faasil and Samantha are enjoyable to watch as the couple and they seem to have real chemistry that works out for all of us. My personal favorite, however, would be Ramya Krishnan. Not only was I super invested in her storyline, but I was also in awe of her aura and swag as she transforms from a vulnerable character to a sturdy, empowering one by the end of it.
At 3 hours of runtime, Super Deluxe can test your patience at times. It will get draggy and the film moves at a snail’s pace. At some point in the film, you’ll be treated to a legit WTF moment that will leave you perplexed. Yet, every scene and dialogue have a purpose to the story and it will eventually tie up in the end. The film isn’t the neatest and the ending to the film might seem abrupt with some of the storyline feeling rushed at the end. However, if you’re willing to observe and reflect on the multitude of philosophies affixing the movie, you might be in for a hell of a ride.
Quirky, fun, serious, unusual, head-scratching, absurd, ambitious and thought-provoking, Super Deluxe is raw and in-your-face.