'Theri' is the story of Joseph Kuruvilla (Vijay), who tries his best to live under the radar with his daughter (played by Meena's daughter, Nainika). When a situation arises, thanks to Annie (Amy Jackson), his low profile identity comes under threat. When Annie tries to uncover the past, we're taken to a flashback sequence where Vijay is shown as the honest Deputy Commissioner, Vijay Kumar. A brutal incident makes him lock horns with Mahendiran, a soft spoken yet relentless politician. Who comes on top in the end and whether justice is served forms the story line of this flick which also answers the question of how a father's role in raising a child is vital.
Even with such a dream cast, it's Vijay who dominates the film with his charming looks, second to none charisma and a power packed performance. His changing makeovers look very convincing. Be it the sweet father with a stubble and tied hair, the tall and trim cop or the post climax appearance, Vijay fits in comfortably.
Samantha, looks ravishingly beautiful and her character, Mithra, looks tailor made for her. Amy, though not getting much screen space, delivers her best as an appealing school teacher. Baby Nainika looks adorable and her cute expressions will definitely put a smile on anyone's face. Director Mahendiran, after being behind the camera and calling the shots on superstars such as Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, is seen in front of it for the first time and that too, as an antagonist. His calm composure and how he carries out his dreadful acts in an as-a-matter-of-fact manner shows his marvelous acting prowess.
Raadhika, who is acting as the hero's mother in back to back flicks is donning the same role in this film too. The emotional bond between a mother-son is shown beautifully and Raadhika looks perfect in her role. If Atlee showed how a father should be in 'Raja Rani' through Sathyaraj, he has shown how a mother should be through Raadhika in this film. Be it the pleasantly comical scenes or emotional ones, she hits the bull's-eye with her acting skills. Rajendran gets his best role till date and travels along Vijay through the film as his sidekick. Apart from his usual sense of humor, there are a couple of scenes where he has to emote and he has done that well too.
The first half shows the love a man has for his daughter in a gracious manner. The story takes its sweet time to establish and the flashback scenes, a good half an hour into the film is where the sparks start flying, which thereby leads to a massy interval block. By this time it is pretty obvious on where it will lead to, which makes the second half predictable.
Yet, Atlee has shown his skills by making the second half racy and slick. He proved his talents once when it comes to emotions in his first flick and he makes his mark once again in 'Theri'. His portrayal of scenes between Vijay - Samantha and Vijay - Raadhika stands as a testimony to this. The zestful screenplay saves the film from being draggy and even with a run time of almost three hours including the interval, none of the scenes look extra.
G.V. Prakash Kumar has delivered his best as the music director in this film which happens to be his 50th. A couple of songs are hummable and the Dub Theri Step as the BGM makes action sequences a treat to watch. Most of the songs are edited and placed in such a way that they don't hinder the film's flow.
Editor Ruben's cuts are pretty well-defined and graceful. Though the film tries to travel at a breakneck speed, it could've been sharper. George C. William's cinematography is top notch and his shots are vivid. Costume designer Komal Shahani, has done a fabulous job of showing Vijay at his best.
Overall, 'Theri' would be a treat to Vijay's fans and Atlee delivers the right amount of commercial elements to satisfy them. 'Theri' is a clean, above average entertainer made enjoyable with Atlee's trademark essence and Vijay's 'theri-fic' on-screen presence.