Film: “Assasin’s Creed”; Director: Justin Kurzel; Cast: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Irons; Rating: ***

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. One apple ‘sevs’ the day in this deliberately on-the-boil thrill provider. Ignore the awful reviews. “Assasin’s Creed” has some of the most heart-in-the-mouth stunts that you will get to see on this side of “Deadpool”.

Not that I’m comparing “Assasin’s Creed” to “Deadpool”. This flamboyant febrile year-ender of a franchise is too sold on taking itself dead seriously. And that in itself is not such a bad thing. Not when you consider the task in front of the screenplay writers who had to incorporate the original game into the cinematic medium. The film had to be feisty and ruminative.

And it is!

“Assasin’s Creed” is a game changer, in more ways than one. It yanks open the game and peeps inside to look at the emptiness that resides in the soul of a wounded civilization inured in centuries of war and bloodshed. The tightly wound-up narrative moves in two distinct frames shot in two different colour palates, denoting a kind of melange of the lucid past and an elusive present.

The narrative is stocked with the surfeit of slick tricks to keep us riveted to the screen, including an extended heart-in-the-mouth parkour chase that ends in a couple of stunning assassinations.

A sequence such as the above shows the intimate affinity between the visuals culled from the original game and the unusually epic interpretation the film provides to the characters who jump out of their positions in the miniature mythology of the video game.

Here is a film that pulls out all the stops and yet manages to keep a tight leash on the proceedings right till the bitter battered blood-splattered end. A lot of the credit for the film’s sleek-yet-never-superficial profile must go to the actors who get the tenor of the game and yet manage to take the proceedings to a zone a notch above just a game.

The astonishing Michael Fassbender has a lot of fun chewing on the two characters he plays in the present and the remote past. His presence goes a long way in creating a dual world denoting violence and deception.

The distinguished Jeremy Irons and Charlotte Rampling suffer in under-written roles. But that’s okay. Even legends need to have fun at the movies. Go with an open mind. You will have fun with this sporty adventure drama.

By Subhash K. Jha

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