Merry Christmas: A thrilling and entertaining slow burn leading to a guessable finale

Karishma Jangid
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Merry Christmas

With a fascinating first half and an almost predictable second half, Merry Christmas is entertaining to watch. Katrina Kaif and Vijay Sethupathi run the show with their enchanting chemistry. 

'Merry Christmas' is one of those rare movies where saying anything about the story or characters means revealing the suspense, the crux of the movie. However, what I can tell you is that the movie is (obviously) similar to yet pretty different from the trailer - in good ways and bad. The good part is that the story unfolds in an unanticipated manner. The bad part is that the film doesn't live up to the expectations created by the trailer.

As is obvious from the trailer, when Bombay was Mumbai, Maria (Katrina Kaif) and Albert Arogyaswamy (Vijay Sethupathi) run into each other on Christmas Eve. Maria's husband is cheating on her and Albert has returned to the city after years. Soon, they inch towards celebrating Christmas together. What follows is a frustratingly slow but strong world-building. The first half is full of revelations that one craves after watching the trailer. Thus, it is highly satisfying. However, accompanying that satisfaction is suspense which later turns into frustration about where the film is heading. The night is darkest before dawn but the night is very long.

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Expectations are high when it's a Sriram Raghavan film. However, Merry Christmas doesn't live up to those expectations. The solid first half tempts you into expecting a thrilling second half. However, in all honesty, it is average. The climax is intriguing but predictable and the big reveal in the end isn't uncommon. However, the film is still a delightful watch owing to the lead actors. Sethupathi is, without a doubt, a skilled actor. He is hilarious in a very unusually shy way which is adorable to watch. And this is Kaif's best performance so far. No matter what their characters' dynamics are, their chemistry is always captivating. The way their story comes together eventually is absolutely heartwarming to watch.

This is also an element that Merry Christmas gets right. It is a suspense thriller for sure. However, it starts almost like a musical and becomes a romantic story by the end with just enough humour introduced in between. It switches genres very effortlessly. The camera is praiseworthy too; the close-ups and broken fourth wall add to the mystery and your confusion keeping you on edge. However, it doesn't always awe you. 

I believe the film has the same effect - it entertains and fascinates you at every step but falls short of its potential. 

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