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Review: TONY (2019)

With an opening montage of headlines about brutal killings, I had hoped that writer/director Vipul K. Rawal’s Tony would be an Indian version of Henry, Portrait Of A Serial Killer. Or, given the plot, Man Bites Dog. Instead, what we get is more of a mix of psychological thriller and police procedural involving crooked cops than a horror film.

Ashish (Mahesh Jilowa) is arrested at a police roadblock for possession of a gun without a license. After trying to bluff his way out of the situation, he tells the police a bizarre story.

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While working on a university project, Martin (Dhruv Souran) hid a camera in a confessional booth. The caught the confessions of Tony (Yashodhan Rana), Confessions of mass murder. Along with friends Kamya (Jinal Belani) and Kartik (Kabir Chilwal), they make the decision to approach him for their project.

However, things take a twist as the four accompany Tony as he kills. First as observers, then as willing participants.

Tony, or to give the film its full name, My Mentor The Serial Killer Tony, spends as much time on the investigation of Ashish’s claims than on the events themselves. And on Inspector Dighe (Akshay Verma) and his plan to shake down the wealthy parents of the other three in return for putting the blame on Ashish.

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Viewed as a thriller, Tony isn’t a bad film. There are some nice twists and an ending I wasn’t expecting. And watching Martin and the rest of them fall under Tony’s spell has an eerie fascination about it. Charming and intelligent, he’s a serial killer in the style of Ted Bundy. Unfortunately, he is mostly in the flashbacks and absent from the footage of the investigation.

At just over two hours, Tony runs a bit long and could use a bit tighter editing. It’s still watchable, though it might take a bit of patience.

Bayview Entertainment is releasing Tony in North America digitally and on DVD through Amazon. TMAA Releasing will be releasing it elsewhere.

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