The White Tiger illustrates the extremes to which the poor are driven to violate the rigid class structure of India, with the implication that our hero and his methodology is perhaps the face of post-superpower capitalism itself.
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Ramin Bahrani’s film is a turbulent and snarkily self-aware melodrama about breathless social climbing.
It’s flecked with murderous black humor, told with all the subtlety of getting run over by a car, and generally sees Indian society as a giant rooster coop where servants either kill their masters or spend their entire lives waiting in line to get their heads chopped off.
An immersive plunge into the chasm separating the servant class from the rich in contemporary India, the drama observes corruption at the highest and lowest levels with its tale of innocence lost and tables turned. If there's simply too much novelistic incident stuffed into the overlong film's Dickensian sprawl, the three leads' magnetic performances and the surprising twists of the story keep you engrossed.
A film of a bumpy, brilliant debut novel which was ground-breaking at the time, Bahrami’s propulsive piece dazzles, and quibbles are easily quelled, even over 124 minutes.
Though the filmmaking is perfectly competent and sometimes engaging, these moments where things click in a way that doesn’t feel like a teacher tap-tap-tapping on a chalkboard’s spelled-out “themes” are rare. It’s a muddled and messy movie, colorfully congested with ideas that often seem contradictory.
The White Tiger isn’t a fairy tale, but by the end the movie still leaves you feeling that it has made a wish into a command.
An absorbing tale of feline ambition.
It’s a punchy, propulsive watch, blown along by snappy editing and a hip-hop-driven soundtrack that stresses that there’s still much fun to be had when hefty themes of inequality and geopolitics are being tackled. And honestly? There really is.
Scene by scene, The White Tiger punctures the fantasy that a rich man could also be a nice man, and although the comedy here is pitch-black, it strums with a particularly focused anger.