When a new age filmmaker like Karthik Subbaraj ( PIZZA, JIGARTHANDA) collaborates with a dance sensation like Prabhu Deva, the environment gets ‘warmed’ up to a different level.
MERCURY starring Prabhu Deva in lead is a spine chillingly daring protest on the woes of industrialization/corporatization/global warming/ pollution told without spoken words but with a bleeding heart.
Karthik Subbaraj after the haunted house horror thriller PIZZA and the gangster flick-turned-comedy caper JIGARTHANDA changes gear once again and maintains his repute as a thinking mainstream filmmaker. A picturesque location in a southern valley is a resort for a group of five youngsters. The hill station is a witness of a devastating act of corporatization/global warming where greed has taken over the need. A company by the name ‘Global Earth’ has created havoc by emitting poisonous mercury resulting in deaths and serious casualties. One night in their ‘ high’ of enjoyment, the group of five youngsters encounter a local – played by Prabhudeva and things take horrific turns. (Revealing much will act as spoilers). The five youngsters and Prabhudeva end up in that chemical plant – Global Earth and all hell breaks loose.
The jeremiad on global warming is getting more and more frightening every day, Hollywood documentaries like AN INCONVINIENT TRUTH, CHASING ICE, CLIMATE REFUGEES etc had added chorus to the complain with an echo. Recently we had Nila Madhab Panda’s social drama with sarcastic dark tones in KADVI HAWA that saw Sanjay Mishra in a stunning portrayal. The talented Karthik Subbaraj’s MERCURY is an intoxicating mix of a teen horror with some slasher elements and melancholy/woe/aghast of chemical poisoning. Karthik Subbaraj is daringly ambitious; he goes silent in making his voice heard and gain attention.
MERCURY takes time to instigate the feeling of submergence in this silent horror that gives a flashing déjà vu of classics in the genre like FRANKESTIEN (1910) NOSFERATU (1922), or THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925) etc. The problem starts when the known elements and gimmicks take over for sometime but thankfully as the unraveling takes place things come back to shape in this technical marvel where Cinematographer S. Tirru’s camera moves along with the scares in those toxic green hue. The sound design by Kunal Rajan and background score by Santosh Narayanan is terrific in this silent horror.
Unfortunately, call it bad timing or whatever, MERCURY for a while enters into the zone of John Krasinski’s modern cult A QUIET PLACE when the mayhem in the factory takes place but eventually it distinguishes itself and has a couple of terrific stand alone moments like Prabhu Deva’s fingers dancing on the edges of the rustic metal inside the factory where a bloody battle of survival is on. The dancing figures are matching their steps with an intriguing piano interlude in the background, now that’s giving a crude scary scenario a lyrical feel without any complaints. Brilliant.
Prabhu Deva is fabulous in a role that is challenging and puts him completely out from his comfort zone and the choreographer-turned-actor-turned-director is competent. The five youngsters Sananth Reddy, Deepak Paramesh, Anish Padman, Shashank and Remya Nambeesan deliver as per the demands of the helmer.
Pertinent question like what happened at corporate earth that lead to the horrifying toxic disaster is left unanswered and the movie takes its time to intoxicate its target audience but overall MERCURY delivers the thrill and dares to be different in telling us about the horror of industrialization/corporatization/global warming/ pollution through a horror that haunts back with a probing chorus on this Friday the 13th !