Ponniyin Selvan: Part I

Ponniyin Selvan: Part I ★★★★

Really scratched my itch for a big-scale epic that I have no context for, just being thrown into the deep end of dense literary adaptation that can operate on spectacle alone but also is just about easy enough to follow that I was only ever about one scene behind, plot-wise. This is gorgeous old-fashioned adventure for the digital age, Ratnam's skillful movement of the camera and integration of CGI with deliberate, expressive staging results in some of the most shimmeringly awe-inspiring compositions I've seen in a blockbuster in some time. I found all the royal intrigue to be surprisingly engaging, and the action looks amazing, but the two standout sequences for me were the moonlit encounter on the boat with Sobhita Dhulipala's sea woman and Vikram's big dramatic monologue just before the interval. But truthfully all of this movie goes relentlessly hard, all I want now are swashbucklers full of political scheming and cosmic portent, and I'm probably more excited for Part II of this than Dune at this point.

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