Film: 'Fox'; Cast: Sunny Deol, Arjun Rampal, Udita Goswami, Sagarika Ghatge, Vipul Gupta; Director: Deepak Tijori; Rating: **1/2
It isn't too tough to crack 'Fox'. You end up realising the identity of the culprit in this suspense thriller 15 minutes after the interval.
If only the whodunit factor could have been held on for a little longer, 'Fox' would have turned out to be as exciting as it seemed in the first half. No, Tijori doesn't bring the culprit on screen in the middle of the film but leaves a couple of clues, unintentionally though, in the first hour itself.
A person aiming a shot at Arjun in the dead of the night and a few minutes later an old man suddenly meeting him in Goa - both these incidents, if studied carefully, throw enough pointers for audiences to ponder over the film's plot.
At the same time, Arjun, a top lawyer, publishes a novel titled 'Fix The Fox', which goes on to become a best-seller.
The novel includes graphic details of five gruesome murders in the past and this detailing leads Arjun to Sunny Deol, a senior cop at the Crime Branch. It's this build-up till the interval that keeps the thrilling quotient intact for 'Fox'.
But the turn of events does keep you watching - whether it is the lawyer who only fights for criminals, a sense of guilt leading to a break-up with his rapist-cum-murderer friend Vipul Gupta, a momentary break from his legal partner and girlfriend Sagarika Ghatge, a fortunate encounter with publishing house owner Udita Goswami or his debut novel 'Fix The Fox' gaining world wide popularity.
What mars the narrative though is that the production values are below average for a project that has stars like Sunny and Arjun.
The frames don't boast of a rich look to them, the set design is tacky, songs are poor and Goan villas appears to be cardboard sets in Mumbai. Tijori has made quite a few thrillers on television before and watching 'Fox' gives an impression that the script may well have been originally designed as a TV thriller.
A film like 'Fox' doesn't quite warrant histrionics and Arjun Rampal does well in keeping his act subtle. It's a nice change to see Sunny Deol not really talking through his fists though one expected him to be a little more energetic.
Sagarika gets good footage for herself after her 'Chak De! India' role. Udita is required to look good in her first few scenes and she does well there. Beyond that she hardly has a role to play in 'Fox'.
Even though you start solving the jigsaw puzzle before the characters are able to do so in 'Fox', you don't really mind the storytelling. The only trouble is that there isn't any needle of suspicion that points towards various characters. That's because there isn't any needle at all here due to a clear black and white picture emerging quite soon. From a suspense thriller, the film ends up being mainly a thriller.