Reality is out the window and the stunts are breathtaking. Watching RRR means forgetting conventional notions of how the world works. Characters jump huge distances, launch motorcycles through the air, and overtake and outwit tigers on their own turf. It would be pure chaos if Rajamouli didn’t orchestrate it with such grace. It kicks in and out of slow motion with a choppy pace, letting the awesomeness of its footage dictate how long it lasts a shot. (There are nuances to John Woo’s work both in its visual style and in a plot driven by friends who might be rivals but ultimately share a common cause.) RRR takes place in a world whose physics work according to the logic of the film and controlled by an expert choreographer (who sometimes lets complete musical sequences take over the film). The sets continue on and on, resurging after seemingly reaching their climax. The effects rarely look convincing, but they’re still jaw-dropping, helping the film create a reality of its own.
It’s a fun reality to get lost in. It’s not fair for the film (or Indian cinema in general) to judge RRR by how it compares to Hollywood’s action spectaculars, but it’s worth noting that Rajamouli’s idea of making blockbuster films is refreshingly different from a mainstream Hollywood style that builds films around the preview teams work. Anyone who is tired of this style or just wants a break should consider it a breath of fresh air.
It’s not overtly political (which makes it kind of political). The same opening statement that assures viewers that no animals were harmed during the making of the film also notes RRR is set against the backdrop of pre-independent India and is purely fictional […] The director or film technicians have no intention of slandering the beliefs of any individual or group. Fair enough. The Brits, with the exception of a sympathetic wife in love with Bheem, are all snarling racist villains and history does little to challenge that view.
They serve as easy-going villains for a movie that ends with a long, patriotic (literally) flag-waving musical number celebrating India that reminds viewers “there’s an iron man in every alley and house”, almost like if we just watched a three-hour recruiting movie. RRRRajamouli’s appearance coincides with a rise in Narendra Modi-fueled nationalism in the country, and while Rajamouli’s film doesn’t overtly celebrate this trend, it does little to contradict it.
In a dive into the politics surrounding the film, Slate‘s Nitish Pahwa highlights the pointed absence of Muslim figures among the revolutionary hero icons included in the final dance numbers, explores how the film reinforces stereotypes via the Gond characters, and uses references toRamayana confirm the caste system. As parts of India, like America, try to return to a simpler imaginary time to find solutions to current problems, RRRin Babu’s words, reinforces a “regressive status quo maintaining the upper-caste Hindu fantasy set in pre-independence India”.
Everything below the surface, however, and what’s on the surface is hugely entertaining. When Bheem and Raju spy on each other remotely for the first time, they instantly realize they’ve met someone they’ve been searching for all their lives without knowing. Those looking for a dizzying and thrilling film unlike any they’ve ever seen will share that feeling when they discover RRR.