The Tamil film industry is a vast space where viewers are introduced to a plethora of good, bad, and obscure films. By obscure films one could mean the stories actually have no angle to it because there is no narrative as such. Regina, sadly, is one such movie. This 2023 Tamil language film is written and directed by Domin D’Silva and is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
This fast-paced movie begins with a man being kidnapped from his home and a bunch of men branding his forehead with the word Regina. This seems like a case of vigilante justice against the captive man. He seems like someone with means who is corrupt, and by the looks of it, he was involved in a crime, which made him the target. It’s not clear whether the man was killed or abandoned with serious injuries.
Regina at the police station.
The scene moves to a police station, where Regina has been tirelessly waiting for some answers from the police regarding a matter that concerns her. Her stressed and haggard face makes the viewers wonder if there is a tragedy that has struck her that nobody around her is providing any answers to. It seems like a typical scene from a local police station that is always in a hurry to close cases and is not bothered to help anybody. This is a setup for understanding her angst against the system, which is why she may snap over the police’s disinterest in her concerns.
The next scene takes us to a police lockup where an elderly man who is a close guardian of Regina is being beaten black and blue because they are asking questions about her, to which the man has no answers. The man is not willing to confess anything that he does not know. Viewers are under the impression that this man’s arrest is connected to Regina’s concern at the police station. Soon it is revealed that these are two different timelines, and the elderly man is about to narrate Regina’s story to the police. Regina was the daughter of a communist party member who was hacked to death by a rival, and ever since, she has been raised by the person who is recalling her story to the police.
Joe and Regina
Regina’s only source of happiness was her husband, Joe. There is an elaborate montage of their relationship in the film that portrays the intimacy shared between the two. Unfortunately, there is no backstory provided about Joe and Regina’s meeting and how their love flourished into commitment. There is a lot to unpack in the love story here because Regina seems to be the happiest in Joe’s company and vice versa. This entire subplot was introduced to make the viewers aware of the conflict that would arise, which would make Regina take some extreme steps. Something awful awaits her.
Joe is a banker, and one day his bank witnesses a heist. In a bid to inform the police, Joe is brutally injured by the robbers, and he is pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. The robbers run off with the loot, but their car meets with an accident, leaving the driver stranded, and the rest of them run away. Her husband’s murder is the reason why Regina visits the police station almost every day, asking for answers regarding the robbers. The police intimidated her into backing off and not questioning their authority. The police’s zero interest in helping Regina develops a suspicion that they might be in cahoots with a bigger party that carried out the robbery, with the police getting a share of the loot. This is a plausible theory because corruption is a regular sight in the state, and inadequacy is always expected from the law-and-order force unless the case is a high-profile one. Tired of being shoved around and not receiving any help or answers from the police, Regina moves away from the town. The only logical step she could resort to is to shift from the place that is ridden with memories of Joe. Maybe Regina will start afresh in a new place and move on.
‘Regina’ Ending Explained: How does Regina locate her husband’s killers?
Regina moves to Kerala and starts working with Julie, who is running a small shack by the beach, and the two of them fall in love as their fondness for each other grows. It seems almost random for Regina to have ended up in the neighboring state for work because there was never any indication of her having any connection to it. Julie has a daughter and a husband, whom she claims is in prison because of some crime he committed. Both women grow close but one her husband shows up, and Julie is not comfortable in his presence anymore. The man resorts to physical violence against her, and to protect Julie and her daughter Sanny, Regina moves them away to a hill town to protect them under Mari, who seems to be a friend of Regina. From this point on, all the subplots go awry because there is no explanation as to how Regina got to know Mari or why the latter is helping take care of Julie.
Regina’s love and affection for Julie is what saved her girlfriend from her toxic marriage. This is what is implied in the beginning, but it turns out Julie’s husband was one of the robbers in the bank heist. He was the driver who was left behind and arrested by the police. His getting out of the prison would mean that it has been several years since Regina started searching for the robbers, and finally, she has located one of them here. Again, there is no clear picture given by the writer of how Regina located the driver. The viewers just assume her angst led her to him, and the whole middle portion of her quest is not discussed. She blackmails him into helping her find the other robbers to avenge her husband by keeping Julie and Sanny hostage.
Treating Julie as a pawn is something Regina never wanted, but it was the only way to reach her final goal. Using him, she gets rid of one of the robbers named Dheena in the unlikeliest of fashions. Regina, being a woman, is always underestimated, and she used that to her advantage to commit the first murder of her life to avenge Joe. Dheena’s death leads to the police getting involved. The leader of the robbers has to stay alert, and they have to get rid of the other members of the gang. The next death will be automatically pinned on Regina as the police are closing down on her. Julie’s husband is being helped by a friend of his, who is a corrupt police officer, to locate Julie and Sanny. The problem with this screenplay is that there are no names given to most of the characters except the leads. A name gives a character an identity, and makes the viewers able to relate to them. Here, the absence of it makes the narrative seem lazy, and the viewers are just left abandoned. The Kerala police get hold of Regina and Julie’s husband at the scene of the second murder, and they are arrested as expected. Regina should have seen this coming because she was operating in another state where the rules and laws were different.
Back at the police station, Regina is attacked by another assailant sent by the leader of the robbers to get rid of her. This would mean she was on the right path; the leader was just afraid that Regina would not think twice before eliminating them. The attack on her paves the way for doubts regarding the agenda behind the robbery. Regina is injured, and the assailant is killed by a corrupt police officer at the station, who, by the looks of things, is on the payroll of the leader. A lot of small intricacies are filled in with flashback sequences, which is the laziest way to convey a backstory. Regina wakes up with an injury at a local hospital. The entire chain of events from here on is a messy representation of a disarrayed screenplay that is not executed the right way. To help Regina escape from the hospital, a diversion is created by bombing an abandoned bike, and a fake assailant is sent to kill her off. With the Kerala Police unable to track her down, she runs off to the town she had left after Joe’s death. On reaching the town with Mari and her guardian, she kidnaps the local MLA, brands his head with her name, and kills him. This event calls back to the opening scene of the movie. Followed by Regina barging into the bank Joe worked at and killing the bank manager immediately.
There’s another underlying story with these killings. It is still a mystery why Tamil filmmakers’ resort to convoluting endings with shocking last-moment twists that only confuse the viewers because of the fast pace at which revelations are made. The bank manager and the local MLA were responsible for some bad loans and fund embezzlement, which Joe caught on to, and he was unwilling to keep quiet or accept a bribe to close the case. Joe’s death was a preplanned murder carried out as part of the staged robbery, something that Joe’s colleague informed Regina of. It is not clear when Regina was told about two relatively powerful men’s involvement because if she knew of them from the beginning, why did Regina go all the way to Kerala to befriend Julie to get hold of her husband? It is implied that maybe the colleague informed Regina when the latter was in the hospital recovering from her bullet injury, but this incident happened in Kerala.
There are plenty of loopholes that were not looked upon by the writers, which led to dots that were not connected accurately. Regina ends with her waiting at the bank manager’s cabin for the police to arrest her, and it seems she might have had a mental breakdown because she cannot believe the crimes she committed and the prison time she will face for it. The last shot of her firing bullets is left ambiguous, it is not shown if she kills the police officer who refused to help her years ago to investigate Joe’s death. Vague endings such as this only open the stage for speculation, but in this case, the screenplay was so haphazard that viewers, by the end of the film, do not care who she fires the bullets at. Regina is arrested, and she will probably feel content getting rid of people who took away the only source of happiness she ever had, Joe.
Regina is a Tamil-language film now streaming on Prime Video with subtitles.