Simon Abrams’s review published on Letterboxd:
Highly recommend Indian agitprop action/crime melodrama Kaala. Superstar Rajinikanth plays a man of the people who protects Dharavi’s slum residents from Nana Patekar’s nefarious land developer. The best 2018 film with fighting & songs that encourage you to “Educate! Agitate!”
Rajinikanth’s Rudy Ray Moore-sized ambition, concerns, and ego are used very well by director Pa Rajinth, moreso than Kabali, their kitschy but enjoyable prior collaboration.
The man dispatches a horde of blade-wielding heavies with an umbrella—in slow motion. Later, he gets super drunk, which leads him to burst into a rousing serenade for his wife. Then the community wears masks with his face on it, like he’s Moore and Lloyd’s V.
All filmed with wide angles, Michael Bay-worthy helicopter/God’s Eye view panoramas, and dynamic tracking shots filmed on location in Mumbai. Shades of Anurag Kashyap, Ram Gopal Varma, and even Francesco Rosi. A really satisfying melodrama. “Land is our right!”
It’s a real shame that Kaala wasn’t covered by almost any major American media outlets. It’s exceptionally strong, the kind of film that anyone with a passing interest in Tamil Nadu or just contemporary Indian films should check out.