Nayattu

What is the movie about? :: Praveen Michael (Kunchacko Boban) is seen as rejoining the police force after taking a small break from service for a tug of war competition. Even though he made a fake medical claim, he is reinstated into the force as the police department is preparing for bye-elections. He meets his superior officer Maniyan (Joju George) and Sunitha (Nimisha Sajayan) works at the same police station. One day, they have a fight with a local goon, a relative of Sunitha in the police station who has been harassing her, and the situation goes out of hand with Praveen and Maniyan fighting the goons. The issue is finally settled, and no case is charged against the person for assualting the police because of his political influence as part of a Dalit party. Later, their jeep meets an accident, and a person is almost killed. The driver who is a relative of Maniyan runs away, and the person who met the accident happens to be a friend of the person with whom they had a fight.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: They take the person to the nearby hospital, but he is soon, pronounced dead. At the same time, the goons reach the hospital, and the three cops run away towards the police station, almost getting attacked on the way. They get to the station, and tells them the details, but it turns out that the news in channels haven’t come in such a way that it would be helpful to them. It turns out that the police was planning to arrest them, and as they understands the same, makes their move. They leave the police station, and decides to run away, even though there is no clear destination awaiting them. The Chief Minister calls for immediate arrest of the police officers because he needs the support of the Dalit group. At the same time, even though left with minimum help, they manage to go for the highlands. But a group of elite police officers are searching for them, and time is surely running out.

The defence of Nayattu :: Nayattu shows the strength of a certain survival mode at all times. Malayalam movies have had their own dose of survival films, but none of them have come close to being this effective. There is also the case of a corrupt system which is hell bent on punishing the innocents if that means political advantage, and power always shifting to politics and their goons, even if one has law and order in hands. The movie deals with the realistic side of a survival thriller, and it doesn’t pretend in doing the same. There were many paths which Nayattu could have taken, but here it takes the one with the least pretensions, and that can be seen in the final moments of the film too, as there is nothing like an uplifting moment in this movie. The ending is open-ended, and it is up for the viewers to decide how this ends, even though the options seem pretty much straight forward. With some good visuals to add to it in the later stages, the movie reaches there.

Positives and negatives :: Nayattu is a reflection of that world in which putting up a fine show in front of the camera is more important than truth, and it is a mirror that should be held against a good number of cases which the media had taken up in the last few years – truth had often taken the backseat favouring the sensational in almost every case there. It is that world were facts are not important, as the objective viewpoint becomes weaker in comparison to the emotional side. It is like a fixed match of IPL, and people just wish to enjoy the show, and different castes wishes to play their cards, sometimes in an extremely violent manner and at other times that of victim – this situation is reflected rather clearly around here. Still, the ending could have been made crisper, and better meaning could have been given to these happening instead of making all these acts resulting in nothing, a case of absurd. Even when going the realistic path, there are always more things to be done, and something else to be added.

The performers of the soul :: Kunchako Boban plays the main character here, even though the balance does lie among the three police officers. He plays the rookie police officer in a very much believable manner, as this realistic depiction makes another version of dealing with crime unlike what we had seen earlier in Anjaam Pathira. It is indeed nice to see him being part of such serious movies again and again. Joju George’s character here reminds us of his work in Joseph and Action Hero Biju, and he does a very believable job in this film too. He has some of the best dialogues in the movie too. Nimisha Sajayan is realistically good as usual, and we have seen her choosing the realistic path on so many occasions and succeeding in the same. She was on one side of crime before, as we have seen in Oru Kuprasidha Payyan when she played a lawyer.

Further performers of the soul :: Jaffer Idukki was seen playing the Transport Minister in Yuvam, and here he plays the Chief Minister – the role of the politician, especially that of a minister seems to suit him really well again and again. His character here reflects the typical politician who wants to retain power at any cost, and will plan successfully to win elections. Yama Gilgamesh who plays the police officer in charge of the operation has everyone’s attention too. This is also one of the last films of Anil Nedumangad, the actor who have done some memorable supporting roles in the last few years, and had died by drowning at the reservoir of Malankara Dam during break in between shooting. He plays the officer who supports the investigation, and this is once again very much a notable role. The rest of the supporting cast feel very much realistic.

How it finishes :: Nayattu is the one realistic survival thriller which reflects the corrupt system so well, that we feel the strength of that depiction in more than one way. There are castes and communities which try to get their due, and for governments, these divisions matter – now the question remain about the position of justice, and that is left to the crowd and media, The film is a fine reflection of this situation, and as it has reached Netflix, I am sure that more people will be interested in watching the flick. Unlike the forgettable Irul which had released in Netflix, this one has a lot more to offer, even more than what the Amazon Prime releases Drishyam 2 and Joji had to offer. It is time that the films which were taken out of theatres due to lock-down come to some OTT platform or maybe have an early television premiere, because it is the worst stage of COVID-19, and we do not know what the future holds for anyone in India right now.

Release date: 8th April 2021 (Theatre), 9th May 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Martin Prakkat
Starring: Kunchako Boban, Joju George, Nimisha Sajayan, Anil Nedumangad, Jaffer Idukki, Samson Matthew Valiyaparambil, Ajit Koshy, Manohari Joy, Yama Gilgamesh, Jineesh Chandran, Hakkim Shajahan, Vinod Sagar, Dineesh P, Jithu Asharef, Kiran Peethambaran, Sminu Sijo, Arafath

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✠ The Vampire Bat.

Bacurau

Vampire Owl: Now, we have time for Portuguese movies too.

Vampire Bat: Yes, and this one is not really from Portugal. It is Brazilian.

Vampire Owl: Well, we have always loved most of the things which are Brazilian.

Vampire Bat: You are saying that mostly related to the football team.

Vampire Owl: It is something that one would say during the FIFA World Cup.

Vampire Bat: Well, in that case, Brazil is not the only team in the picture.

Vampire Owl: Actually, nothing matches the fan support of Argentina and Brazil even during these days when the European teams are gaining the fans.

Vampire Bat: Yes, even though Germany, France, Spain, Italy and England got quite a good number of fans, and increasing.

Vampire Owl: Let us now dedicate this movie watching adventure to the Brazilian football team then.

Vampire Bat: I am very much in support of such a thing, but it is to be noted that Movies of the Soul doesn’t get much of the views from Brazil or Portugal, even though the former is picking up these days of Corona Virus and lock-down.

[Gets a green apple cake and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: After the death of her grandmother Carmelita (Lia de Itamaraca), Teresa (Barbara Colen) comes home to her village in Brazil after a long time to find that something is not right, and it is not the same as she had left it then. Some of her old friends like Acacio (Thomas Aquino) are still there though, and there has not been much modern development out there. Bacurau, a small fictional settlement in Brazil’s remote backcountry doesn’t get much of an attention from anyone in the city, as nobody really comes that way. It doesn’t work even as a tourist destination with so many hills and forests around. Even those who are contesting for the mayor spot just comes there with some books and medicines, and after a few minutes, just leaves the place. It is so remote that if someone comes in an advanced car or bike, people would be feeling that there is something wrong, or something special is going to happen out there.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Even though there was a death recently, they have no time for mourning as the water supply has been cut off with water tankers coming that way having holes on it, animals from the forest are running through the streets, and their place has disappeared from all satellite maps completely. Soon, there is no network connection in their mobile phones either. Along with the same, some strangers are walking arouns with guns, and an Unidentified Flying Object has been located nearby. It had to do something with people who were not from around the settlement, and not even from further out in Sao Paulo, Brasilia or Rio de Janeiro. What could be happening around here? Can there be something sinister in play here? Will it be the work of something paranormal or that of influential people who have some evil plans?

The defence of Bacurau :: The visuals of a fictional, remote, Brazilian village makes an impact, and so does the people there, most of them being simple, likable people. The movie does get into the mood of a thriller in the later stages, and there is some nice shooting to go with it as the action begins. With danger getting closer, there are some stranger, but effective measures taken, and the whole situation changes. During the time of Corona Virus, this is more relevant, as people are quarantined into small towns and villages. There is the question about what one can do while facing an armed attack at the same time – with no defense against the human predators, what would the people who are locked in like animals do? The terror created colonialism and terrorism has a new face, as people are not considered to be humans, but things to be hunted and killed. When someone chooses your home as a shooting range with a racist ideology, there is nothing else to do, but to fight back, and the movie shows the underdogs coming up with the same, nicely.

The claws of flaw :: There is the chance of people having doubt about this movie in the beginning, wondering where the tale is heading, and only after establishing everything that we see a certain change beginning to happen. When a lady gets a lift with a truck driver and they are traveling in a road in the middle of nowhere, you feel that this is going to be a very slow, clueless, award movie in which nothing much happens, and you have to find meaning for everything after spending days thinking about it, but you have to get over that feeling to start enjoying this movie which is much more. It doesn’t follow the pattern of the usual action adventure thriller, and never does it try to explain everything which is happening around there, thus making it not a movie for everyone. Some sequences seem to be unwanted, and it surely drags in the beginning, taking time to get into its world. After avoiding some unnecessary sequences and shortening the run-time, this could have a better one to look out for.

Performers of the soul :: Berbara Colenmight seem like the main character in the beginning, but she is not – it is to be noted that she does come up with a simple and serene performance though. Then there is Sonia Braga, but she is not the leading lady either. Thomas Aquino also has a big role to play here, but he remains just one of the characters when we consider the film with its totality. Silvero Pereira as Lunga comes into the picture late, and has his own moments to steal some of the show. But one has to feel that this is a movie without one protagonist or an antagonist, as there are many characters spread throughout the movie – in the beginning, we think that one person is the star, and then we see the focus shifting from there, and other characters are thrown into the picture with chances of being the leader, but the same keeps changing all the time. There are moments when one feels that there is something here that people from other parts of the world might end up missing. Well, the approval rating of 90% based on 125 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes should mean something more.

How it finishes :: Bacurau is the first Portuguese movie that I have watched, and I have been wishing to watch one for a long time. The movie is Brazilian and not Portuguese in identity, and is thus closer to Latin America than Europe, providing a different experience. It is great to see a new world displayed in the movie, with all its simplicity, and the natural problems which come with the same. The action comes in the later stages, and the movie turns into a thrilling adventure without any warning. Bacurau might be a good choice to start watching as far as those different or rather strange movies are concerned. There are times when we think that Bacurau is not just a small town in the middle of nowhere that struggles to be displayed on the map, but a reflection of what can happen to people when facing the inherent cruelty from the rest of the human beings who consider themselves to be very much superior in race, technology, colour, strength or anything else.

Release date: 25th September 2019
Running time: 132 minutes
Directed by: Kleber Mendonça Filho, Juliano Dornelles
Starring: Sonia Braga, Udo Kier, Barbara Colen, Thomas Aquino, Silvero Pereira, Karine Teles, Julia Marie Peterson

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.