Underneath the dark and elusive cloak of a science fiction narrative, director Vikram Kumar has amassed all things that enamour the Tamil audience, from romance to despicable villainy, the time cherished twin brother strife to a comely son who rediscovers lost legacy.
The opening shot is a beautifully set up bungalow in 1990, where Sethuraman (Suriya), a scientist, is on the last phase of his incredible invention, amid the amiable banter of his wife Priya (Nithya Menen) and his baby. There's enough happiness on screen that act as a natural celluloid catalyst for trouble. Enter, twin brother Athreya (Suriya again) and what follows is textbook Tamil cinema. A safe secret with the baby that manages to escape death, with parents sucked into the sleepy hollows of time.
A flurry of coincidental events later, the key to the invention falls into the hands of the survivor son, Mani, 26 years later. He, of course, takes his time to get to the hot zone, instead finds his love, runs between the hands of the clock, turns time around for his little benefits. However, the inevitable has to happen—the devil has to meet the angel. After yet another series of complexly worked out strategy by the bad guy, things start evolving into a full fledged sci-fi drama.
What's commendable is a novel idea that engages the viewer even after pushing through three songs before the film has hit mid point. The romance, despite playing up the time travel concept, digresses for a little longer than is required. Once after the break point, the imaginative elements, the foremost functionaries in fantasy stories start to unfold. It's then, a pleasure to watch how the story is designed to pass through the time tunnel, back and forth.
The clinch is the climax, where the germ of the idea, sprouts vily hands that reach out to turn around, not just the clock, but foreseeable future, history and space. Even though the balance between a high functioning time travel system and tiny missing parts and loopholes in the story is under threat, the situation is saved by a relatively non-complex story that focuses on keeping the viewer guessing. The director has smartly picked out an age-old story of revenge and reinvented it, knocking it out of shape to fit his time travel module.
Suriya is credible as Sethuraman, Athreya and Mani. He plays the characters across a span of 26 years and is probably the only face that'll be doggedly sticking to mind after the film. That Samantha hasn't a groundbreaking role is obvious enough, but she manages to stay likable. Saranya is the pick of the lot, handing out the right measure of emotions.
Rahman interludes are welcome. However, the routine placement of the songs are boring. The film is an art director's Disney world, for each element, whether anachronistic or not, is placed with utmost care to aesthetics, backed by great cinematography by Tirru.
Pitching in a lot more than what is needed into the arena, would time and tide taking a hike in 24 be worth the effort? If only we could really step into the future!
Onmanorama rating: 3.25/5