Akelli movie review (2023)
A gripping potential lies at the heart of this film’s premise – a young woman trapped in war-torn Iraq manages to eliminate high-ranking ISIS commanders, offering the promise of an enthralling plot. However, this promise is squandered, resulting in a thriller that only intermittently captivates. The movie starts off with a thrilling momentum, setting up expectations for an edge-of-your-seat journey. Unfortunately, around thirty minutes in, this initial excitement wanes, and the film falls victim to a formulaic script. For a movie of this genre to succeed, it demands a surplus of grit, tension, and edginess. Although these elements are present in “Akelli,” they are underdeveloped, failing to reach their potential.
The film does take some creative liberties, introducing plot gaps that raise eyebrows. Notably, Tsahi Halevi’s ISIS commander character sustains fatal injuries in one sequence but miraculously appears unharmed at the airport in the following scene. Yet, the filmmakers should be acknowledged for daring to tread unconventional ground. Their ambition deserves praise, even though it doesn’t entirely materialize on screen. The movie kicks off dramatically, with a chilling scene on a Mosul street where a girl is bound with explosives. As the bomb disposal expert fails, the girl tragically meets her end. Such scenes are undeniably attention-grabbing, but the film struggles to maintain the same momentum consistently.
The story centers on Jyoti (Nushrratt Bharuccha), a young woman from Punjab who, due to unfortunate circumstances, loses her job at the airport. Responsible for her mother and niece, she desperately seeks new employment, eventually landing a supervisory role at a garment factory in Mosul, Iraq. As she navigates this new chapter, she encounters Rafeeq (Nishant Dahiya), her manager, a Pakistani who takes a liking to her. However, just as Jyoti begins to adjust, an ISIS attack on the factory alters everything, leading to the capture of the remaining individuals. Driven by an unyielding determination to return to India, Jyoti musters the courage to defy her captors, unintentionally eliminating an ISIS commander and gravely injuring Assad (Tsahi Halevi), another senior figure in the region.
The film provides Nushrratt Bharuccha with a platform to showcase her acting abilities. While she may not entirely seize the opportunity, her performance remains sincere and genuine. Tsahi Halevi, known for his role in the Israeli series “Fauda,” delivers a credible performance as Assad, emanating a menacing presence. Nonetheless, a more fleshed-out character portrayal from the screenwriter would have been preferable. Nishant Dahiya, portraying Rafeeq, manages to leave a mark despite his limited screen time.
Debutant director Pranay Meshram’s intentions are commendable, but the movie’s weak script ultimately undermines his efforts. “Akelli” excels within confined spaces but stumbles when it ventures beyond them. In an era dominated by cutting-edge terrorism-themed series on various streaming platforms, the film struggles to maintain a lasting impact.