Mail Review: Nothing livens up the screen, not even the lights
It is difficult to understand why an email from an anonymous person would emotionally deter the spirits of a man who is involved in a profession where emails are constant and often left unread. And even if it isn’t, nothing seems to be particularly harrowing as the film claims to be.
Gautam Vardaan who works for a publishing house rejects a story idea over an email and states the reason to writer Sohini Sengupta that he is unable to accept a story which is below 5000 words. Sohini’s reply drops in a traumatising message that seems to haunt him for the rest of the time in the film.
Often times the work of the cast has managed to supersede the content of the script. The cast which includes Anshu Bach, Titas Bhowmick, Indrashish Ghosh, Avishikta Ghosh felt doubtful about their roles, dialogues, performances and situations. Although none of them has officially talked about it, that was an assumption made from their lack of effort to do a better presentation. One wouldn’t need an expert’s opinion to figure out that the actors are unable to believe the absurd circumstances the script seems to demand. When an actor fails to be convinced about a character he is playing, the film will live long enough to turn into a dangerous disaster. But when newcomers fail to establish themselves in their first go, life is bound to become more difficult.
Almost every conversation happened in English. At some point, you are bound to wonder what is the purpose of making a Bengali based content, if every conversation between two people who share the same mother tongue is taken over by the English language. On a completely different note, that reflects a colonized mentality, where speaking English, a foreign language is seen as a sign of elitism. While the language has its own merits, it’s absolutely imperative to use that medium as a mode to judge another person’s level of intellect.
Mail tries to create a neo-noir effect with its dark lighting scheme, however, they fail to recreate the mood which was once heavily used to Martin Scorsese and Roman Polanski. Overall, it becomes a blue-lited, worthless experience in the dark, which would make it difficult for you to keep your eyes on the screen even if you have put your screen on the highest bright note and closed the windows in your room.
On a popular OTT platform such as Addatimes, Mail, on a completely different note exemplifies a toxic work culture, but that probably became an advantage that went unnoticed.
Mail had strong potential, unfortunately, the script seemed to have been scribbled too many times mainly for the worse. Addatimes has been a platform where various fledgeling artists have tried to showcase their films. However, every artist needs a free mental space. Often times when producers burden an artist with complications, pressures, and deadlines they end up ruining a script that otherwise had good potential.
The music is highly taken from the background score of Game Of Thrones. For those who have been a fan of the series, (before the last season ended horribly) for several reasons the background score will be a distraction. Strong and heavy audio which was slightly distorted from the original Game of Thrones track was used to describe an event, where there weren’t really dragons fighting against an army owned by a tyrannical Queen. The music continues loudly along with a voice-over which would have been difficult for our ears to capture without the subtitles.
The usage of a long shot and mid shots were aesthetically justified. However, the director should have concentrated more on the lights. The wrong usage of lights has often been the biggest cause of failure.
The film editor of Mail will remain one of the unsung heroes of this piece of work. The entire film was aesthetically stitched with the right kind of shots. Alas, this will be a benefit that will go unnoticed in the eyes of the commoner. Although Mail was a mistake, for various reasons it remained more acceptable.
Rating: 1.5/5 stars