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Critics Review
Detective Varma review: A cringefest partly redeemed by the third act

A half-baked attempt at a noir detective film that leaves much to be desired.

Ryan Gomez
Jul 18, 2021
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What’s it about:

The short film is set in Australia where Detective Varma narrates the story about a murder mystery and the involvement of a few international students from India. It also puts focus on the drugs trade by students to make a living.

What’s hot:

The short film does a decent job at highlighting some of the issues faced by students who choose Australia for higher studies, considering Australia has one of the highest university fee structures in the world for international students as well as some of the most expensive cities to live in. Quite surprisingly the performances by the cast are commendable. In fact, it’s better than many actors in India featured in lead roles in mainstream films across industries. The exposition provided by the titular character about the stories of two young women is narrated without dialogues, which works with the overall aesthetics of the film.

What’s not:

The short film as a whole is unfortunately poorly edited and has somehow managed to make sunny Australia look like Gotham City. The film has overused the colour grading in video editing and contains slow-motion shots that would put Zack Snyder to shame.

There are also some exaggerated subplots like how an international student who sells drugs could make enough money to buy exotic sports cars, when in reality it would barely cover university fees, rent and living expenses, considering how the heavy drug business would be done by actual drug dealers and criminals.

The plot also exaggerates the motives of the characters, and the logic behind their actions is ludicrous. The background score and the never-ending shots of slow-motion walks in different attires make the film look like a poor man’s Paris Fashion Week.


The one thing that could redeem the mess that the first two acts are, is the third act implying that the narrator is unreliable and that the exaggerated aspects of the film are simply a subterfuge. Unfortunately, the writing is not crisp or intelligent enough to make it look convincing, despite the best efforts of the cast who are surprisingly up to the mark.

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