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Written and directed by Robbie Grewal, <i>RAW</i> is set in the 1970s leading up to the events that created Bangladesh.
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RAW – Not A Good Sign When A Spy Thriller Makes You Yawn

Written and directed by Robbie Grewal, RAW is set in the 1970s leading up to the events that created Bangladesh.

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Movie Reviews
2 min read

Raw – Not A Good Sign When A Spy Thriller Makes You Yawn

There is a point in the film when one of the characters utters “it’s all too obvious” and it seems like the fourth wall broke and we were being addressed directly! It’s all too obvious indeed and the lumbering manner in which the tale is told doesn’t help matters either.

Written and directed by Robbie Grewal, RAW is set in the 1970s leading up to the events that created Bangladesh. Frenzied camera work hints at the uncertainty that such a highly charged atmosphere warrants. A closer look however would reveal the vacuous plot marred by predictability.

John’s ‘Convincing’ Act

John Abraham plays a bank teller till the RAW chief decides he should be recruited as a spy and given the tough task of being sent to our number 1 enemy country on his very first mission itself. Instead of showing us some kind of training that one undergoes for such an important and risky endeavour, Jacky Shroff and John Abraham instead go on long walks where the former gives gyan on how he must be alert always and try and decipher convoluted code messages. John simply nods and is war-ready!

RAW in this case is Romeo, Akhbar and Walter – the various characters that John must portray strung together with the same wooden expression.

John Abraham tries really hard to flex his acting muscles. Marks are due for his diligent spirit to not give up. But that’s about it.

As long as he has to punch and pose, John is convincing but the moment an emotive scene comes up his wide-eyed expression draws attention to his utter inadequacy as a performer.

Sikandar Kher who was quite good in his last outing Milan Talkies as the husband with a psychotic rage, is impressive but with very limited scope. For that matter Jackie Shroff also seems to just exist for the few dramatic lines that his character mouths.

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A Movie on a Spy But Without Suspense

Although RAW has an interesting premise and noble intentions, what proves to be the film’s biggest undoing is its completely obvious trajectory. There is hardly any tension or suspense to bind us to the proceedings. Nor is the performance by the lead compelling enough to make us want to root for him. Anil George as the Pakistani weapons dealer gives a brilliant performance and RAW is a completely different film when he is in the frame. All that delicious suspense vanishes when Mouni Roy and the many pointless songs come in at the most inappropriate of times.

RAW overall is a raw deal with nothing new to offer. It leaves us with an important lesson. A film can be about anything but what it shouldn’t be is boring ! Sadly we yawn our way through its 144 minute runtime .

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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