Maverick filmmaker Anurag Kashyap's upcoming crime drama Raman Raghav 2.0 (titled Psycho Raman in international markets), starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vicky Kaushal, had its world premiere at the 69th Cannes International Film Festival on Monday, as part of its Directors' Fortnight section. A few hours later, its first few international reviews were published.
Deborah Young, reviewing for The Hollywood Reporter, praised Nawazuddin Siddiqui's performance as being "exceptionally scary" and concluded that his work "ups the scare ante". However, she criticised certain other aspects of the film, such as:
As the confused lawman, Kaushal is the weak link, nice to look at but shallow in his wacky fits of unprovoked violence. Take the brutal way he man-handles Simmy, the rich party girl who has evidently become his steady date, given that later in the film she tells him she has aborted three of his kids. In fact, all the women characters (two swinging singles and two maids, to be precise) are despised and mistreated, and not just because the muscle-bound cop has to use Viagra to meet their demands. Variety and depth of character are badly lacking on the female front, weakening the whole film.
Guy Lodge of Variety remarked that "it'd be a stretch to call the film 'tasteful'", but on the whole, called it a "luridly absorbing serial killer thriller". He concluded:
“Psycho Raman” often entertains most with its most lurid formal, musical and narrative gambits, from the electrifying, strobe-tastic assault of the film’s nightclub-set opening sequence to the cranked-up rat-in-a-trap terror of its finale, which closes with ample (if not exactly upbeat) potential for a 3.0 sequel.
Wendy Ide of ScreenDaily described the film as a "propulsive and bloodthirsty thriller with a brash use of music and a jangling, adrenalised energy which rarely flags" and praised the film's "slick production values" and Siddiqui's "deadly charisma". She concluded:
What the film lacks is the sense of a Manhunter-style battle of wits. Raman is hardly a criminal mastermind. He is hiding in plain sight, usually with a blood-caked tyre iron to hand. He’s a lunatic blowhard who brags his crimes to all and sundry. Raghav, meanwhile, makes Harvey Keitel’s Bad Lieutenant look positively pollyanna by comparison. Neither character is developed into much more than an assortment of base urges, which is one of the reasons that, bracing fun as it is to watch, the film is rather an empty thrill.
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