While this marks only my second excursion into Mani Ratnam's oeuvre it's becoming quite apparent he is major filmmaking who deploys a distinct and transfixing directorial style to his works that reverberate with sensuality and pulsate with a ferocity towards the complexities of living in a world far from just. Nayakan traverses the gangster film archetype with an acute lens fixated on existential questions of living, as the film tells this sprawling story of reciprocal force, being an investigation into the philosophical as it pertains to the merits of violence and the malleability of our interior selves by such pernicious aesthetics. Nayakan is rooted in the material with an eye towards the existential, assured yet self-reflexive about retributive justice, moral relativism, and class struggle. It's such a rich narrative tapestry that understands the complexities of its thematic investigations into injustice, violence, and progress. Nayakan exhibits how the individual is sculpted by their environment and acknowledges the transitive nature of any action, even when in pursuit of social justice and progress. The film ultimately doesn't question the merits of its central protagonist's choices and resolve, offering instead a perhaps far more piercing evocation - Did his personal sacrifice matter? Will his legacy ultimately forge progress or was it all simply for not; Is the perpetual nature of violence and conflict, perhaps in itself, intrinsic to man? Certainly one of the best "gangster" films ever made.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.