Vampire Owl: I have only known one Christopher in my life.
Vampire Bat: Are you talking about Christopher Marlowe?
Vampire Owl: I am not sure about University Wits being part of vampire world.
Vampire Bat: The vampires have been secretly part of all universities.
Vampire Owl: There are no vampires who study directly in universities.
Vampire Bat: Well, Dracula Castle is a university affiliated institution.
Vampire Owl: So, vampirism is now accepted as a course?
Vampire Bat: The difference between a curse and a course is lesser these days.
Vampire Owl: I would surely love to see B.A. Vampirism as a course in human universities.
Vampire Bat: Let us make it BSc. Vampirism, as humans only go for science these days.
[Gets a strawberry ice cream cake and three cups of pista ice cream].
What is the movie about? :: Among the police officers of the state, ADGP Christopher Antony (Mammootty) has a special place as one of the most efficient and honest ones. To add to his list of skills, encounter killings is a well-known one. As he finishes off five rich and influential young men for raping and murdering a young lady who was delivering food, he is hailed as a hero of the masses, but due to the pressure from human rights activists and the rich families of the dead youth, there is the order for an investigation against him. Christopher’s ex-wife, Beena Mariam Chacko (Sneha) is also in favour of an investigaion, which is led by ACP Suleksha IPS (Amala Paul). She decides to uncover Christopher’s past to make sure that the process would be easier. She finds out that Christopher’s motive to become a police officer with an interest in encounter killings goes back to childhood when his parents were killed and sister was raped and murdered. He had tried to have his vengeance, but was stopped by a police officer who was in charge, and the cop himself does the encounter of the two men who committed the act of brutality.
So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: This police officer who brings vigilante justice to the scene becomes his role model. Christopher was trained under the same police officer who also took care of the boy’s rest of the education. With such guidance, Christopher soon clears the civil service exam and becomes an IPS officer. He gets his first posting as an ASP in a village in Madhya Pradesh which was ruled by feudal landlords, and becomes an encounter specialist in a land of brutal murders and rapes. He was aided by SI Muhammed Ismail (Deepak Parambol), who becomes his right-hand man. From there, he begins a new journey, something which becomes headache for many. It seems that Sulekha has more than what meets the eye in front of her. Advocate Amina (Aishwarya Lakshmi) who had become Christpher’s adopted daugher after the death of her biological father Ismail, also meets him with a cause, which would mean more troubles for which there are no easy solutions for Sulekha. More people might die in encounters as long as there will crimes, but will Suleksha bring an end to this as the faith is placed on her?
The defence of Christopher :: There is no loss of style in this movie with its investigations. Even though one might feel that it will keep reminding us about Mammootty’s two other stylish movies Abrahamainte Santhathikal and The Great Father, it is safe to say that our film is far above the others in the way it progresses, and related to how it deals with the narrative in relation to a bigger picture which would remain there. It can also boast about using less drama in comparison to Jana Gana Mana which was more or less overdone with its dialogues. This one here is well-shot as a visually superior movie in comparison with many other movies, and the side of investigation mostly stays on track, even though the stylish side often threatens to do more than it was supposed to do. The background music works most of the time, and does even better in relation to the narrative and action. The movie will leave us with something to remember, as it not only has all the looks and style, but it also makes us relate things with real life incidents. Well, making sure that entertainment is guaranteed, becomes one clear target for the movie.
The claws of flaw :: The movie could do better if the focus was shifted from style to substance on a number of occasions, as the scope was so much there. There could have been some interesting twists added in here, and the investigations could have had more surprises and shocks in store too. The opportunities are never completely taken to the advantage. The psychotic sides here are not of enough strength. The ending could have also meant more. It strange that so many movie s begin so well, and continue in a similar way, but ends without being able to add any innovation in there. Well, this is a movie which seemed to have so many resources in store, and such a movie should not have degraded itself into a stylish commoner with extra elements for the blind fans. Such requirements of the fans seem to have kept this movie behind, with a certain amount of lag in the form of slow motion. It does rise above many movies which are lost in slow motion, and that can be considered as a positive. Well, there is nothing less expected here.
The performers of the soul :: As expected, the movie depends on the style and charm of Mammootty to lead the movie towards something better, and that is indeed a fine advantage. There are scenes which seem to be overdone at times involving him in action. There is a little too much of heroism added on here which makes also makes the main character very much like an unstoppable force of nature, which could have been avoided up to an extent. Amala Paul’s police officer role looks pretty good despite some early struggles, and there are times when she elevates the level out of nowhere from what seems to be too usual a thing. Aishwarya Lakshmi gets a small, but interesting role, and same is the case of Sneha who is back in Malayalam movie industry and suits her role really well. Vinay Rai who plays the main antagonist has some fine moments to show the vilainy which is managed in an engaging manner. Sarath Kumar’s cameo role is also something to stay. The work of Dileesh Pothan and Siddique will also be remembered. Shine Tom Chacko plays the one fully negative police officer here without problems. The other women characters played by both Vinitha Koshy and Aditi Ravi might feel small, but are of very much relevance to the proceedings.
How it finishes :: Among the interesting thrillers of our times, this movie has an interesting place, even though not on the expected lines. There was always more to be taken, but with its contents, this one feels enough for a few hours of entertainment. Making a film a worthy investigative thriller along with being appealing to fans is not that easy, and that has been managed with some skill. After all, it is always better to have a police officer as the protagonist rather than the gangsters and crime lords in some other movies made for fans. There have been so many such movies in which have some foolish dialogues and moments to satisfy the dumb fans. Well, this one rising above such tendencies is a thing of happiness. Among all these, the movie has also managed to make so many Bollywood cop movies look so dumb, as they are expected. As this movie repeats, truth just something that is constructed, and goes on to bring final justice to the character victims. Like Grandmaster and Villain, this remains another balanced act from B Unnikrishnan, and another cop recreated nicely out of family tragedies.
Release date: 9th March 2023 (Amazon Prime Video); 9th February 2023 (Theatre)
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: B Unnikrishnan
Starring: Mammotty, Amala Paul, Aishwarya Lakshmi, Sneha, Dileesh Pothan, Shine Tom Chacko, Aditi Ravi, Vinitha Koshy, Deepak Parambol, Jinu Joseph, Vinay Rai, R Sarath Kumar, Vasanthi, Vijaykumar Prabhakaran. Manjulan, Rajesh Sharma, Manohari, Keerthana Sreekumar, Ramya Suresh, Shaheen Siddique, Amal Rajdev, Sohan Seenulal,Kalesh Kalakkodu, Nitin Thomas
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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.