Fantastic Fest 2019 Review: JALLIKATTU

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

From India, but not from “Bollywood,” comes an outstanding achievement in direction, cinematography, editing and sound that has a simple story with astute political connotations. This film, by director Lijo Jose Pellissery and writers R. Jayakumar and Hareesh S., challenges people’s perceptions of strength and valor and does so in an movie that genuinely makes the audience feel immersed in the chaos. The movie elicits plenty of laughs and delivers thrills, but ultimately devolves into a dark and disturbing tale.

In the poor Southern Indian state of Kerala, a wild buffalo escapes before he gets slaughtered and wreaks havoc throughout. Desperate to reclaim the beast, the male villagers attempt whatever measures they possibly can, and hope to achieve glory in the process. However, these ambitions of grandeur only make matters worse, as the men grow increasingly self-serving and turn on one another.

Director Lijo Jose Pellissery, cast and crew have made an incredibly well-made feature with Jallikattu. Though the actual sequences of events occasionally become redundant, the tremendous work on the visuals and sound make this an incredibly immersive experience. It is a movie that should be experienced either in a theater or a top notch home theater setting. I am not sure how well this film will be distributed in the US, but Austin, Texas residents and visitors will have an opportunity to experience it after the festival.

The movie will screen one more time on Friday, September 27 at 11:30 p.m. Go to for tickets and more information.

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