Is this the classic tale of good vs. evil where on one side there is good and on another there is evil? In John Day, the boundary between the good and the evil is constantly getting blurred, ultimately resulting in a tale of revenge, morality and redemption. The movie primarily focusses on two characters, John Day (a bank manager played by Naseeruddin Shah) and Gautam (a police officer played by Randeep Hooda) who are constantly dealing with their troubled past. Around this moral texture, is woven the story of greed, corruption and ultimately revenge.
As far as the story is concerned, it is simple yet cluttered and most of the credibility of the film comes from the treatment of the film by the director. The movie shall remind one of the genre ‘film noir’ and it significantly bears the influences of many foreign films.
The traces of the cinema of Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino can be seen in the movie; accounting for the heavy-handed violence and Christian imagery present throughout the film. Yes, the movie reminds one of the Spanish film, Box 507 in its creative essence, still the director has taken the story to a level where atleast the movie stands on its own; its earnest attempt. All the elements which are the essential ingredients of a good thriller are present in John Day, although done in a heavy-handed fashion. Agreed that John Day frequently lacks a certain cinematic subtlety but then this type of treatment stands on one end of the spectrum where the excessive tone is in itself a part of the film narration, although not that evolved. In that sense, John Day succeeds.
Both Naseeruddin Shah as an ordinary (read: good) man who finally takes revenge of the death of his daughter and Randeep Hooda as the corrupt cop who wants to break away from the world of corruption with the girl he loves is the reason to watch the movie, although their performance suffers due to the inconsistent pacing of the film. One thing which realistically hampers John Day is the background score. It is intrusive and incohesive for the most part. With a thriller of this kind, one expects a more taut music score and spontaneous writing which lacks from the movie. The dialogues are quite average and doesn’t add to the momentum of the film, the way visual treatment does. These factors could have made John Day, a better realized edge-of-the-seat thriller.
Still, watching John Day is a worthy experience, if you are ready to exercise a little patience and expect something else than the regular mainstream Bollywood cinema.