john_doe_vigilante_xlgIt was nearly half past nine at night when my phone rang and Brad was on the other side of it. Like he always does, he just jumped to the point and asked me whether I knew which film was the recent Akshay Kumar starer “Gabbar is back” ripped from? The very next moment he threw the answer on my face. Apparently he had seen the trailer of a little known Australian film called “John Doe Vigilante” which was released in March 2014 and deduced the fact that “Gabbar” was inspired by its storyline. He was going all ga ga about it. It was only a matter of time before I had to check out the movie myself purely out of curiosity which I did soon enough.

The story revolves around a man who has been terribly wronged. Even though he holds a good_mg_1359 place in the society, he is unable to save himself and his family from the fiend that feeds on his daughter and also consumes his wife who is unable to cope with the loss of their daughter. Distraught, the man become John Doe, a ruthless administer of swift justice who knows only one way of solving a problem. Kill one culprit at a time until all of them are gone. In doing so, he receives support from various niche of the society and is also met with disdain from those who are unable to understand what he was doing. The most vocal among his supporters are the “Speak for the Dead” [S4D], an organization led by a man who was himself abused by his own father and grew up to be as critical of the world he was living in as was possible. He was also counseled by our John Doe when John was without his mask.

itJYUzoJohn Doe is wish fulfillment of the highest order. It is a film which will make you leap and scream out of pleasure in many sequences primarily because what unfolds on screen is something which we wish was the truth. The hero bludgeons his way through the criminals and never for once is he threatened. He always wins and stays miles ahead of the wrongdoers. After a while the law enforcement authorities spring into action to catch hold of him but they too are unable to find a single working link. Doe gives himself up after he finally nails the animal that wrecked his life but by that time he had already killed 35 criminals. After a his arrest a heated debate ensues on whether he should be hanged for the crimes that he has committed or hailed for putting to rest those criminals which the justice system couldn’t keep off the street and were repeatedly committing crimes and walking away with it.

The film unfolds through a series of interviews conducted by Ken Rutherford (Lachy Hulme) a News-man who John Doe opens up to after his arrest. The interviews conducted by Ken throws light on the men who came into contact with Doe during his stint as the vigilante. The director uses the interviews as a medium to bring to light the beliefs and thought process of a man who even after killing 35 people is hailed as a protector. The cherry on the cake is the brief but effective meeting of a child with Doe. Incidentally the man he killed to save the child was his first target. The film has a “la-documentary” feel to it as everything is seen through the eyes of a News-man with some effectively put flashbacks, news-reel footage and also some sequences which appear to be taken from surveillance cameras. There are also some characters carrying handycams bringing us so more interesting insights into a few sequence.

Truly John Doe Vigilante is a superbly shot film. The DOP had to take a lot of things into consideration primarily to keep the johndoe_1reality-check and even the slightest lapse on his part would ruin a scene but thankfully he remains strictly on track. The editor does a stupendous job indeed. The fractured timeline that the film carries all the way through required some deft touches in terms of the editing to let out a dramatic feel and that is achieved effortlessly. However I have a few complaints regarding the repetition of a few sequences (the court room sequence and the bombing) which could have been done away with.

johndoe_13sJamie Bamber nails it as John Doe. He is sensational in role which demanded a calm demeanor as well as rousing fire in certain sequences. Look at the two sequences, one involving Doe’s meeting with the little whom he saved while in custody and another where he gives up his true identity to the man who killed his daughter. These two sequences are polls apart and demanded a huge range. He breezes through these sequences effortlessly. Lachy Hulme is the next best thing about the film. His constant probes give us insight into Doe’s mid and the two work up a great chemistry. The rest of the cast is terrific and leave no room for any complaints.

In 1995 David Fincher gave us a John Doe (Kevin Spacey) in his film Se7en who was despicable and hateful beyond compare but brilliant nevertheless. He gave himself up too. 19 years later Kelly Dolen gives us another John Doe who is as different as he could be from Spacey’s. In 19 years, Doe has had his transition from a murdering maniac to a rescuing hero. I “kind of” like this version better (not saying that Se7en was bad). John Doe Vigilante is brilliant both in terms of cinema and pure wish fulfillment. This is the kind of film that leaves a good taste in your mouth even after it is done.


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