Runway 34 Review - Ajay Devgn's Thriller Landed To Safety
Posted on 29 Apr, 2022
Starring: Ajay Devgn, Amitabh Bachchan, Rakul Preet Singh, Boman Irani, Angira Dhar, and Aakanksha Singh
Directed by: Ajay Devgn
Duration: 148 minutes
Plot: Captain Vikrant Khanna and First Officer Tanya Albuquerque face difficulty while landing a flight boarded by 150 passengers. The turbulence surrounding the plane and the turbulence within set up for an intriguing thriller paired with a courtroom drama.
What works for the film?
The First Half.
One of the best first halves of 2022 for a commercial film. Runway34's first half is strictly a thriller. Right from the get-go, it keeps the audience engaged, and doesn't waste time on sloppy introductions. Every situation is dire in the first half, the screenplay is written to provide more intel on the tone of the film. The humor might not always land ( intended) but the thriller takes off safely. There is a ticking time clock on every move which the writers have established well. The characters in the first half, especially that of Tanya Albuquerque (Rakul Preet Singh) is grounded and doesn't come off as a caricature.
Ajay Devgn as a director is something we would love to see more. The captain in the movie and the captain behind the camera have made the audience sit on the edge of their seat. Since the screenplay chooses to avoid plot twists in the first half and only give unpredictable roadblocks to the characters, Ajay Devgn had the daunting task of making an aviation thriller enthralling. But he didn't miss a beat, he is one step ahead of our expectations. It seems like as an actor he knows exactly what the audience wants and as a director, he knows how to give that to the audience. Ajay Devgn ahead of Runway34's release has mentioned how every tiny detail was wielded into the story so nothing appears to be far-fetched, and he wasn't lying. A very innovative and dynamic director.
Leading cast performance.
Like a tripod stand, Ajay Devgn, Rakul Preet Singh, and Amitabh Bachchan hold the movie firmly. The leading performances can't be dismissed, they are top-notch.
Ajay Devgn's role of providing anticipation and anxiety is done perfectly. He as Captain Vikrant Khanna is engrossing to follow in the first 60 minutes. He is a flawed character, and that's okay because flawed characters however hard to root for, bestow reliability and dimension. Surely he is on the high horse when we first meet him, but the story doesn't award him for that, instead, it makes a point to haunt him later on. Ajay Devgn has included his strong acting chops with precision.
Amitabh Bachchan seems to enjoy his role. Even after watching him go from one role to another, and play so many characters for different movies, we can't ever get tired of him. The reason is his acting diversity, each time the actor will surprise you with a new layer. His quirks and intensity in Runway34 are mesmerizing, almost as if we want Narayan Vedant (Amitabh Bachchan) to have his own spin-off prequel.
Rakul Preet Singh has to be the standout performer. The role doesn't have to be grand or have the most dialogues, it should simply create an effect. Tanya Albuquerque's(Rakul Preet Singh) character has now etched itself into our minds. Every emotion she goes through is well received. She holds our attention in every frame she is in. Rakul's character has created a high degree of intrigue due to an emotive performance.
The Soundtrack is by Jasleen Royal and Aditya Sharma pens the lyrics for Runway 34. "Mitra Re" by Arijit Singh and Jasleen Royal is beautiful but Jasleen Royal's "The fall song" is immensely captivating. The song needs to be highlighted, it is a tuneful piece with slow beats in a high intense situation. In the movie, it creates a gripping effect when everything else falls apart for our characters.
The number one fear for any viewer is a loud BGM (Background music) killing the whole atmosphere with its deafening beats. This year many good movies have suffered from this problem. But Runway34 isn't one of them, The BGM compliments the screenplay making Runway34 less bumpy.
What doesn't work for film?
The second half.
What if in a horror movie, the haunting spirit appears and disappears in the first half, and the second is just characters dealing with what they have encountered. Takes away the thrill, doesn't it? Runway34 has the same problem, the first half is nearly perfect. Every element of the thriller is employed with great detail. But after the interval, it appeared as if a different movie was now rolling on the screen. A complete shift of genre. Many movies have done this in the past, and that's not an issue. Even choosing a linear pattern for storytelling instead of going back and forth with flashbacks also isn't the problem. It's the execution that spirals out of control. Ajay Devgn is a good director but how much can he elevate a slow screenplay. The second half isn't all that bad, it has its moments. But because now the stakes are so low or at least they appear low, we don't pay much heed. We are now out of the roller coaster's loops and riding slowly towards the end that we find it hard to care in the second half. Kudos to the performances and direction for making it still worthwhile.
Characterization of supporting cast.
The story has such strong duality, on one end the good first half that is gripping, and on the other a slow second half that tests our patience. On one side of the spectrum are great leading characters and on the other poor characterization of the supporting cast. Boman Irani is a capable actor, but something in Runway34 about him doesn't click. His character appears to be very one-dimensional in this one. Aakanksha Singh, another talented actress who has impressed audiences in Telugu cinema is a miss in this one, she isn't bad with the material in hand but doesn't shine either. It's average at best. Angira Dhar, this one is a bit disheartening since the trailer promised a bit more than what we got. No doubt Angira Dhar is neat in her performance, but the characterization made her role in the story very black and white.
Runway 34 had a smooth take-off and landing. In between the duration, there was turbulence but because the captain of the plane and its crew members were phenomenal, the passengers on board had a good journey. Runway 34 is worth a try.
STARS : ⭐⭐⭐/5
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