Check Movie Review: A thriller that lacks both logic and gravitas
Check Movie review: The film keeps taking temporal leaps but the timeline is quite hazy.
Movie Name: Check
Cast: Nithin, Rakul Preet Singh, Sai Chand, Sampath Raj and others
Director: Chandrasekhar Yeleti
In Telugu films, the hero meets exactly the kind of individuals he needs to meet in life on exactly the day he needs to. In Check, Aditya (Nithin), the self-taught chess genius, bumps into a young girl who is very fond of chess. The girl is seen playing chess with a boy, of all places, in the premises of a court. And the girl, who goes on to be wowed by Aditya's brilliance, is the granddaughter of the judge. Bingo! In Check, miracles are just a chess square away.
The story is partly set in a prison. Aditya has been sentenced to death because he got convicted for plotting a terrorist attack that destroyed scores of lives. It goes without saying that he is innocent but nobody wants to listen to his story. Srimannarayana (Sai Chand), one of the inmates in the prison, believes that he is innocent. He eggs on Aditya to use his chess-playing skills to secure President's mercy by playing for the country. But this is not to the liking of some individuals, especially the mercurial Superintendent of Police (played by Sampath Raj).
In real life, a terror-convict getting an opportunity to play in the Commonwealth Games would become a polarizing national debate. A thousand editorials and a million social media posts would be written around this question: "How can a traitor represent the country?" But this film avoids all such complications and embodies all the frustrations and rage in just one character - a caricaturish cop who is reduced to a helpless anti-hero in an unintentionally hilarious turn of events.
The film is set in a fictional prison where the inmates fight amongst each other, sometimes violently, while the cops look the other way. This place just doesn't look lived-in. It's as if the inmates are having a lot of fun time indulging in ego battles on a college campus or something. One of them (played by Harshavardhan) is seen sharing his astrological insights while sporting the relaxed vibes of a neighbourhood uncle.
Director Chandrasekhar Yeleti, who is still respected for his brilliant movies such as Aithe and Anukokunda Oka Roju, infuses random Sankrant quotes (read 'Yadbhavam tad bhavati') without creating gravitas. The hero becomes a chess genius overnight and the one explanation that is given for this incredible expertise is this: So many greats in history discovered themselves while serving a jail term. Woah!
Aditya, a con artist before being a convict, cons everyone with an engineering subterfuge. This element should have taken the film to the next level but for the lazy manner in which it is narrated in the climax.
Beneath the cloak of quasi-chess drama that the film seeks to be, Check is actually a bundle of illogical segments. If the gravity-defying fights in the jail are out-and-out masala stuff, at least their context should have been distinct. But they are all about Nithin's character morphing into a saviour or something.
The film keeps taking temporal leaps but the timeline is quite hazy. The chess scenes were supposed to be the soul of the film. Here, the director attempts to give the impression that the hero's success in each of the games, some of which involve sporting legends like Viswanathan Anand (!), is preordained. It's fine if logic goes missing. But it's not fine if tension too goes missing.
Check movie trailer: