Movie Review: John Day (2013)

Box Office: Flop

Righteous bank manager John Day (Naseeruddin Shah) is devastated when his daughter is found dead on her clandestine camping trip with a boyfriend to a desolate estate. John suspects foul play when years later, his wife faces a similar fate. The mysterious tragedies ignite his quest for truth and vengeance. Turns out, John is a pawn in a bigger conspiracy that involves gum-chewing-gun-wielding, bad-ass cop Gautam (Randeep Hooda).

Volatile and temperamental, Gautam has his own obscure motives. While he isn’t intimidated by death, he’s enslaved by the past. The two, in their pursuit of redemption and retribution, get embroiled in a vicious game of cat and mouse.

Ahishor Solomon creates a web of mystery, executing a number of sequences with flourish. The thin line that prompts a mild person [Naseer] to turn into an avenger is deftly illustrated by the first-time director. Conversely, the wicked and deceitful cop [Randeep], who loves to inflict pain on others, finds himself at crossroads when it comes to matters of the heart [Elena Kazan]. Although the screenplay does get into the predictable zone at times, I must credit the director and writer for maintaining intrigue, teasing the viewer with unpredictable twists. As a matter of fact, a number of moments stay with you much after the screening has concluded and that speaks of the director and writer’s competency.

JOHN DAY is dark, sinister and edgy. You need to have a strong stomach to absorb the aggression and ghastly sequences that unfurl on screen. Also, the usage of expletives is another characteristic that might make you slightly uncomfortable, although it gels well with Randeep’s character and the temper of the motion picture. Furthermore, the tempo, though swift-paced at most times, does tend to get sluggish intermittently. But these are minor quibbles…


Good Reviews  |  Average Reviews  |  Bad Reviews
Positive Reviews
4.0 “Experience John Day, it will be worth more than the price of admission.”
3.5 “JOHN DAY is a razor-sharp thriller with an engaging screenplay, high-voltage drama and sterling performances as its aces.”
Bollywood Hungama
3.0 “For a film about losers John Day proves to be a paradoxically profitable movie-viewing experience for the audience.”
NDTV Movies
3.0 “It has it engaging moments.”
3.0 “For a film about losers “John Day” proves to be a paradoxically profitable movie-viewing experience for the audience.”
Average Reviews
2.5 “It’s gripping but like the characters, the plot is way too ambiguous, deceitful and tedious for your liking.”
Times Of India
2.5 “Go for it if you must but with very low expectations.”
2.5 “The film, deliberately or otherwise, has been given a morose, humourless feel to it. The motive must be to make it dark and edgy but it soon turns out to be nothing but a dull and tedious affair”
Negative Reviews
2.0 “John Day is an example where we see a filmmaker in complete command over his technical craft till the end but slowly and surely losing control over his impulses and the grip of the subject.”
1.0 “The director couldn’t do justice to this film, which only means that it’s an opportunity wasted and how! John Day is best left alone.”
Indiatoday: Rohit Khilnani
1.5 “The gore is ratcheted up to screaming point in John Day.”
1.0 “Incomplete, boring and confusing comes easily to the mind when describing the film. All in all, a bland thriller.”
Indiatoday: Saurabh Dwivedi
2.0 “Debutante director Ahishor Solomon, however, crackles in the first 45 minutes, setting up the plot to a nicety, building scenes and sequences giving one a sense of a slick-thriller. “
2.0 “A muddled affair, John Day seems lost in its own maze of self-indulgence. “
DNA India
1.5 “Despite potentially appearing to be a great, racy thriller, John Day ends up being a yawn-fest you just want to get over with. Wouldn’t miss a thing if you skip this one. “
1.0 “Ahishor Solomon’s John Day is an absolute disaster zone despite a promising style of storytelling.”
0.5 “John Day isn’t the dark, twisted thriller it was meant to be.”
Rediff: Paloma Sharma

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