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‘Leo’ Movie Review: Vijay delivers power-packed performance in Lokesh’s actioner

Commercial films, these days, fall into two categories. They’re either too good or so bad that’s it good. When a commercial film is tastefully done, the euphoria you feel inside the theatre is unexplainable. That’s exactly what you feel when you watch director Lokesh Kanagaraj’s ‘Leo’. With a career-best performance from Vijay and brilliant filmmaking, ‘Leo’ is a paisa vasool entertainer.

Parthiban (Vijay) is an animal rescuer and a bakery owner in a small village in Himachal Pradesh. His wife, Sathya (Trisha), son Siddharth (Mathew Thomas) and Chintu make for a happy family. Parthiban is a doting father and doesn’t believe in violence. One day, dacoits enter his bakery, which unveils an aggressive side of Parthiban and results in the death of five gangsters.

This incident sets the ball rolling and destroys the peace in Parthiban’s life. After the incident, the story moves to Telangana, where we are introduced to Das and Co, headed by Anthony Das (Sanjay Dutt) and Harold Das (Arjun Das). Parthiban resembles Harold’s son, Leo Das. Harold goes all the way to Himachal Pradesh to find him to seek revenge.

Why are they behind Parthiban? What does Leo have in connection with Parthiban? Are they the same person? Most importantly, is ‘Leo’ connected to Lokesh Cinematic Universe (LCU)? If so, how ? All these are answered over two hours and 44 minutes.

Time and again, Lokesh Kanagaraj proves that he’s one of the best filmmakers we have now. With ‘Leo’, he proves that he can take a done-to-death story and elevate it to Hollywood standards. This film’s story is all about how a changed man who wants to hide his past will go to any lengths to protect his family. Lokesh’s screenplay, which is co-written by Rathna Kumar and Deeraj Vaidy, is full of solid moments that keep the audience wanting more.

As the title card runs, Lokesh said that he has been inspired by ‘History of Violence’ and ‘Leo’ is his tribute to the Hollywood film. He stays true to the word and we can safely say that ‘Leo’ is one of the most violent films in recent times. Thalapathy Vijay has delivered his career-best performance, be it action scenes or emotional sequences.

While the first half is packed with many theatrical moments, the second half turns more predictable. The final act ends up being a tad bit dramatic as well. The flashback of the Das and Co gang could have been a bit more creative. That said, ‘Leo’ is a near-perfect commercial entertainer, which will make us savour the theatrical moments. Also, Lokesh has packed in several surprises throughout the film. While some were revealed during the filming, others managed to get the audience excited.

Here’s the trailer:

Performance-wise, ‘Leo’ is Thalapathy Vijay’s show all the way. He shoulders the film with his charm. Trisha as Sathya has limited scope. However, their chemistry in an emotional scene will remind us of their previous films, including ‘Ghilli’. Sanjay Dutt looks like the usual antagonist imported from Bollywood. He still impresses us with his dialogue delivery. Arjun Sarja takes us back to the 90s when he flexes his muscles. However, the acting scope for Sanjay and Arjun isn’t as much as expected. Gautham Menon, Mysskin, Sandy and Mansoor Ali Khan performed their roles to the T.

‘Leo’ is an action bonanza and credits should be given to choreographer duo Anbariv for the high-octant stunts. The car chase sequence in the second half deserved to be watched and celebrated on the big screen.

Spoilers ahead!

‘Leo’ has Lokesh Kanagaraj’s stamp all over and he interestingly connects it to the Lokesh Cinematic Universe, which made the entire theatre erupt in joy.

Anirudh Ravichander is having a phenomenal year with back-to-back successes. After ‘Jailer’ and ‘Jawan’, he scored a hattrick with ‘Leo’. His background music and the songs amp up the masala moments quite well. Cinematographer Manoj Paramahamsa and editor Philomin Job ably do the job well.

‘Leo’ is a massy commercial actioner with brilliant stunt pieces that deserve a theatrical watch.

3.5 out of 5 stars for ‘Leo’.

Published On:

Oct 19, 2023

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