Review: 'Rapture' is an unsettling but marvellous portrait into human behavior towards impending doom

Sangma's Rapture catapults through multiple phases ranging from darkness to glowing hope, but mostly doing so through the lens of Kasan.

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Kunal Kothari

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Either it's night, or we don't need the light - This is how Dominic Sangma's film, Rapture begins, and for about three minutes into the film, we see extreme darkness that is a small flicker of light which gradually grows into a visual of several villagers marching in the forest with their fire marshals searching for one of the teenagers that have gone missing. From the get-go, you know that Rapture isn't going to be a comfortable watch, especially as you pirouette through the sequences that showcase human behavior. From starting as a tale of villagers awaiting impending doom to suffering extreme paranoia and all of that through the eyes of a 10-year-old boy, the film sets you up for several shockers. Having had the chance to see the film at the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2023, here's what I thought about it-

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Human Behavior, The Darkness & Hope

Just like any film, dealing with human behavior is probably the trickiest thing to crack. One after the other, villagers begin to go missing, and the rest of them are trying to get patrol teams out in trying to figure out who is responsible for it when the true intentions of many of them come out. It is fascinatingly dark yet not predictable. The darkness lies in the belief that these people are living with - figuratively and literally. In one scene, we see two old inhabitants talking with each other about the possibilities of these disappearances while also highlighting an incident in the past in which they survived. It serves as the crux of something that lies ahead, but they don't know what. The Pastor has many believe that the doom is just about eighty days away and only their absolute faith in the Holy Grail is the only thing that can save them. On the other hand, the protagonist Kasan, a 10-year-old boy, has his father and a few authorities belonging to a group that are making attempts to find the culprit.

Sangma isn't interested in giving any misdirection, and through little nuggets of exposition, he conveys the perils of this paranoia that has set in a village that is seemingly fighting for survival. But he doesn't leave you without hope. At what cost, though?

The Change, The Symolism & The Impact

Through his characters, Sangma has you hooked on multiple fronts, especially with the character of Pastor. While being the person whom everybody believes in with utmost faith has his moments of question with another character - the coffin maker, Kasan's uncle never says anything throughout the film, but when asked if the ruptures being shown in Rapture be erased, he does provide an answer. An answer that leaves you unsettled, an answer that leaves you with hope as well but not without looming darkness. There is a recurring appearance as well where an animal appears in maximum sequences in the first half of the film - be it a goat lurking around when a few people are just chatting, a dog roaming around when characters are moving frantically and a cat as well in other scenes. How much of this is intentional and how much isn't is boiled down by the messaging Sangma is intending for.

The Verdict

Dominic Sangma's Rapture catapults through multiple phases ranging from darkness to glowing hope, but mostly doing so through the lens of Kasan. Kasan's dream solidifies that Sangma is actually willing to convey, and he does so with precision in spite of some gaps in between.

Rating - ***1/2 (3.5/5)

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