Court (2015)

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Critic Consensus: Court takes a penetrating, timely look at issues facing Indian society while serving as an excellent calling card for debuting writer-director Chaitanya Tamhane.

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Winner of top prizes at the Venice and Mumbai film festivals, Chaitanya Tamhane's Court is a quietly devastating, absurdist portrait of injustice, caste prejudice, and venal politics in contemporary India. An elderly folk singer and grassroots organizer, dubbed the "people's poet," is arrested on a trumped-up charge of inciting a sewage worker to commit suicide. His trial is a ridiculous and harrowing display of institutional incompetence, with endless procedural delays, coached witnesses for the prosecution, and obsessive privileging of arcane colonial law over reason and mercy. What truly distinguishes Court, however, is Tamhane's brilliant ensemble cast of professional and nonprofessional actors; his affecting mixture of comedy and tragedy; and his naturalist approach to his characters and to Indian society as a whole, rich with complexity and contradiction. (C) Zeitgeist

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Critic Reviews for Court

All Critics (49) | Top Critics (11)

Although the film is an unruffled work of fiction, the absurdity of the legal and political state of affairs it quietly but powerfully comments upon may be all too real.

Aug 28, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Untrained actor Vira Sathidar is wonderful as Kamble, a proud man who remains stoic even as an antiquated and often-absurd legal system chips away at his freedom.

Aug 27, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

This isn't your typical courtroom drama about an idealistic attorney with a savior complex per se. The film dramatizes how authorities can systematically police thought and harass radicals with bogus charges.

Aug 13, 2015 | Full Review…

Writer-director Chaitanya Tamhane, making his feature debut, structures his story as a courtroom drama, and the legal intricacies of the case are sufficiently absorbing for the movie to succeed on that score alone.

Jul 23, 2015 | Full Review…

Tamhane's quiet techniques build to pure, cold fury.

Jul 15, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

For the most part, Tamhane improbably succeeds in creating a damning courtroom drama that derives much of its power from observing the cogs in the machinery when the machine is switched off.

Jul 15, 2015 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
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