Line of Descent

Are you still thirsty for crime movies after soaking in The Irishman?  You might want to give Line of Descent a shot.  In no way is Line of Descent in the same league as Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece, but it’s a solid pick for people looking for to be entertained by lighter popcorn fare after watching Netflix’s consequential epic.

Set in Delhi, India, Line of Descent tells a familiar narrative about a family heavily involved in organized crime.  However, the ringleader and oldest member of the family, Bharat Sinha (Prem Chopra), commits suicide from buckling under the pressure after some recent “jobs” and self-reflections.  Mournful, the family doesn’t hesitate to speculate the future of their status as brothers Prithvi (Ronit Roy) and Siddharth (Neeraj Kabi) anticipate the reading of their father’s will.  It’s decided that Prithvi will inherit the wealth and power of his father, prompting him to halt all illegal activity.  Siddharth, bitter and vying to start a new business in the arms trade, has other plans.

Line of Descent has your usual share of show-downs, briefings, hit jobs, and undercover missions.  But, writer/director Rohit Karn Batra (making his feature-length debut) elevates the formula with confident filmmaking and a riveting story about loyalty within a tainted bloodline.  Along with those accomplishments, the film has a cast of strong actors and rich cinematography.

While the film has all the necessary requirements to pique someone’s interest, the North American marketing has decided to shift its focus on Charu, an arms dealer played by Brendan Fraser (The Mummy [1999], The Poison Rose, TV’s Doom Patrol).  Casting Fraser is as random and unexpected as his eccentric performance in the movie.  However, he chews scenery with so much charismatic arrogance that not only is it fun to watch him in a new element, but he also establishes this peculiar character well. 

It also feels like Fraser is trying to get the attention of Quentin Tarantino;  as if he’s hoping for a career resurgence ala John Travolta or Robert Forster.  Here’s hoping QT sees this slick international gangster movie.


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