Righteous bank manager John Day (Naseeruddin Shah) is devastated when his daughter is found dead on her clandestine camping trip with a boyfriend to a desolate estate. John suspects foul play when years later, his wife faces a similar fate. The mysterious tragedies ignite his quest for truth and vengeance. Turns out, John is a pawn in a bigger conspiracy that involves gum-chewing-gun-wielding, bad-ass cop Gautam (Randeep Hooda).
Volatile and temperamental, Gautam has his own obscure motives. While he isn’t intimidated by death, he’s enslaved by the past. The two, in their pursuit of redemption and retribution, get embroiled in a vicious game of cat and mouse.
John Day, a rip-off of Spanish thriller Box 507, is dark, edgy and brooding thanks to the execution and background score. The debutante director manages to create a mood of suspense as he keeps things unpredictable, especially towards the beginning. However, as the film progresses, the pace drops, scenes look repetitive and the story gets so convoluted that you lose track of characters and their motives.
Also, the film is loaded with random brutal violence (you see Hooda biting a goon’s tongue and ripping it out) and incessant swearing…if you can’t digest blood, gore and profanities, better stay away. Wonder if this was an attempt at making the film look borderline art-house.
Randeep Hooda keeps his clenched-jaw look constant, thus making his menacing presence felt. We’d like to see more variation in his choice of roles though. Naseeruddin Shah exudes the inner turmoil of his character with utmost conviction. Pity he gets lost in the web of events that fail to make sense. Shernaz Patel is effective in her small but significant role. As Randeep’s alcoholic and masochist girlfriend, Elena Kazan fits the bill.
John Day initially gives an impression that it’s all about decoding a puzzle or unravelling a mystery at breakneck speed. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. It’s gripping but like the characters, the plot is way too ambiguous, deceitful and tedious for your liking.
Two men – one driven by love for family, the other scarred for life by his troubled past, find their lives intertwined as a nefarious conspiracy unfolds…
The Times of India