Whatever is the matter with Gautham Menon? Why on earth does he feel the need to alter a perfectly good plot in order to cater to the masses - especially when he seems to have gone to a lot of trouble to avoid doing just that? I mean, firstly he casts wholly against type - bulky mass hero Sarath Kumar as a happily married medical representative who gets beat up quite a lot, the anglicized-looking Andrea as the demure wife and the demure-looking Jothika as the fiery 'other woman'. Then he does a volte-face and makes Sarath Kumar turn into Nattamai all over again to bash up 25 goons. with a penknife through his palm. Decide what you want to do, dude!
I haven't watched 'Derailed' the movie, but I did enjoy the twists and turns in the novel by James Siegel. The best part of the book (for me) was all about how an average, everyday American Joe outthinks and outwits a criminal. Unfortunately, Gautham decides to ignore that very part of the book, and make it a match of brawn instead of brains - it is just this that sounds the death knell for the movie.
Sarath Kumar tries very hard to be as non-filmi as possible (though his masala origins give him away every now and then). In fact, this is probably a career-best performance for him, though I did think Arjun (from Shankar's 'Gentleman', 'Mudhalvan' etc) would have suited the character better. I thought Andrea was very cute, though. Jothika plays the role straight, unfortunately, instead of nuancing her performance. She goes through her trademark gamut of 'cute expressions' in the first half of the movie, and then toward the end snarls and bares her teeth in a manner very reminiscent of Chandramukhi. Milind Soman is adequate, but he doesn't really have anything much to do.
Harris Jayaraj really needs to give up doing BGM scores. His score is a huge disappointment, and one piece in particular was very much like a song from 'Kaakka Kaakka'. He scores with the songs, though, and the film theme itself is nice. Actually, his BGM scores sound great musically, they are just not very situational!
In the end, the failure of this film is the failure of the director. Perhaps I had my hopes set rather high, but 'Kaakka Kaakka' and portions of 'Vettaiyadu Vilaiyadu' had firmly established (to mymind) Gautham as a director of heaps of promise. However, this is definitely a step back from his previous movies. His villains are fast becoming stale, with the trademark long-haired and disheveled looks, dialogues mouthing Hindi obscenities etc. The song picturizations are sometimes atrocious (pray, what was that dream sequence doing in this movie?), and his hesitation to take that crucial footstep from the safety of mundane masala has been instrumental in the ultimate demise of this movie.