Checks only a few boxes

Deccan Chronicle.  | Sashidhar Adivi

Entertainment, Movie Reviews

Nithiin and Chandrasekhar Yeleti team up for the first time for the film, Check

A poster from Check movie
Rating: 2.5/5

Check movie review: After a long hiatus, director Chandrasekhar Yeleti comes up with his next film, Check. Known for his gripping style of narration, Yeleti does checks a few boxes in the film. However, though he blends the game of chess cleverly into the story, there are some loose ends in the latter half.

Aditya (Nithin) is one of five terrorists on death row. A lawyer (Rakul Preet Singh) tries to come to his rescue, but with no success. Aditya picks up the game of chess in prison and masters it. He links the game with incidents in his life and draws various scenarios. But can he prove his innocence, leveraging chess?

The prison atmosphere is portrayed realistically. In fact, at times, you’re strongly reminded of the Prison Break series – the protagonist lands in a prison and searches for a way to get out.

The director was to a certain extent was successful in creating the required aura around the characters and the brooding anxiety that’s needed in a thriller. But the meteoric rise of the hero to a ‘Master’ and subsequently to ‘Grand Master’ feels too cinematic.

Another drawback is that there is hardly any threat to Aditya. It is only post-interval that the filmmaker connects the game of chess to the conflict point. Isn’t that too late in the proceedings? Moreover, the game chess is hardly showcased excitingly.

As a viewer, you jump to different interpretations of the story and Yeleti partially succeeded in creating a mind-bending experience at many places. To top it all, Check is devoid of commercial and masala trappings, so it hits straight at the core.

Nithin takes on different shades for his Aditya role. From rustic to nuanced to thoughtful, he  ran the gamut. He deserves a pat on his back for picking this role. Rakul Preet grabs attention in the courtroom drama, and perfectly fits the role of a lawyer. Priya Varrier gets some good screen time and is effective too. Sai Chand as a chess master provides the surprise element in the film. Rahul Srivastava's was impressive.

Check has its share of other shortcomings too. The emotions don’t quite seep into you as the character’s journey as a prisoner on death row needs more intensity. The film has all its highs in the first half but it loses its way in the second half. A few characters look force-fitted into the narrative, with no rhyme or reason for their presence.

The ending, however, is in an ‘expect the unexpected’ kind of zone and makes up for some of the shortcomings.

All in all, Check is fresh in concept and near perfect in execution. It hits a few bumps, but the layers of intrigue built up in the initial stretches keep you invested in the film. As in the game of chess, the checkmate by the protagonist makes you think for a while. 

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