Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum

What is the movie about? :: Prasad (Suraj Venjaramoodu) and Sreeja (Nimisha Sajayan) are in love after a certain misunderstanding between them. Living near Vaikom at a village where the caste feeling is high, both are at trouble due to Sreeja’s father and relatives being fully against the marriage and threatens them. The result is that both of them runs away from the place after their wedding, and goes to a remote place in Kasargod where they have bought some land and a place to stay, hoping to get into agriculture. But it turns out that there is no water available there, and things once again takes a twist. They decide to get a loan against her gold ornaments, but her necklace ends up being stolen when in the bus, messing up with their plans. This theft was committed by a man known by the same name, Prasad (Fahadh Faasil) whom Sreeja had seen devouring it to escape being caught with it.

So, what happens next? :: So, the KSRTC bus driver, conductor and the travelers join to take the man to the nearby police station. It is more of a remote area, which doesn’t have leaves too many options for the police than to wait, as Sreeja is certain that the man had stolen her necklace and the thief tells the police that he has stolen nothing, and is working at a road-side eatery making porottas. But when the police asks for an id, he has none, and so they decide to keep him at the police station and wait. With no other option left, the couple also has to wait to find a way to find the necklace from him, as nothing could be proven otherwise. The police officer in charge of the case, A.S.I. Chandran (Alencier Ley Lopez) assures them that the thief is a smart one, but he solves such cases all the time, and will get them their necklace. So, who is the smartest of them all – is it the thief, the couple or the police officer?

The defence of Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum :: The question of Dileesh Potham brilliance rises again, and we can see that there is something about it everywhere that fuels this movie. It is a fine narration that takes the story to another level, as we have the perfect example on how to make simplicity so interesting. Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum is once again an everyman movie like Maheshinte Prathikaram, and those elite classes will not get their due here – there is almost no person in this movie who can be put into that “rich” category, which brings us the real movie for the people, which has never been the self-proclaimed “local” movies. The humour is also working, and they are also based on simple things of life – still there are twists. Once again, we see that the visuals are nice, as you know who in charge of them with the camera. The music is good, with “Kannile Poika” nicely visualized. There is the message hope and forgiveness, even though they are not readily visible.

The claws of flaw :: The movie might feel a little bit slow and a little bit dull at moments of the first half, as we expect it to be fun-filled entertainer like Maheshinte Prathikaram which had absolutely no moment which will make us doubtful. The emptiness that you feel in between, and the repetition that might seem to occur are also certain to be seen. You do feel at times, that this has a little too much of a remider of Action Hero Biju – so, if you don’t like that movie, there is a chance that Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum will not be that interesting to you too. The story also doesn’t have that much in it to talk about, as things are rather simple, and the whole thing is focused to particular places. If you are looking for the usual kind of a movie, this will not claim to be one, which might be a good thing for a few, and not an interesting thing for some others. There could have been a bigger punch by the end, which is not there.

Performers of the soul :: Fahadh Faasil has his second movie running in the theatres at the same time, as Role Models is already there, having released for Eid with Avarude Raavukal and Oru Cinemakkaran – his earlier movies were Take Off and Maheshinte Prathikaaram, and it has been a fine run which continues into this movie too. Fahadh’s work, no matter how good or bad a movie is always something to look forward too – after all, this one is really good. There is a certain balance in his work, and even the simplest emotions from him brings the claps from the audience – the thief’s smiles score big. Suraj Venjaramoodu brings a performance which brings him back to the “fortress of seriousness”, with a full role rather than what he had in Action Hero Biju – he even has the romantic side to explore nicely. The National Award Winner for Best Actor in 2013 is the hero in this one, even though the term has less potential in a realistic story having no heroism.

Further performers of the soul :: Nimisha Sajayan makes a good debut with this movie too, as her work is simple as well as memorable. We see her taking it further with some realistic emotional scenes. It will be nice to see her in a different performance in one of the upcoming movies, and I remember having read that she has signed for another movie already. The next memorable character in the movie is played by Alencier Ley Lopez, who plays the police officer again after Njan Steve Lopez, and combines forces with Fahadh Faasil and Dileesh Pothan once again after Maheshinte Prathikaaram. You remember Vinay Forrt becoming the officer in control of things in Kismath where almost everything happens in the police stations – Alencier gets to do the same, but he has another mode on with Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum. There is also the presence of some lesser known faces, who all do a fine job – it seems that the right ones are chosen for sure.

How it finishes :: We have all known what Dileesh Pothan is capable of, with his Maheshinte Prathikaaram, the National Award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam and also for Best Screenplay. The same combination of him with Fahadh Faasil returned here, and as expected there is something for us to be impressed, as we were waiting with expectations being a lot high. The movie with a realistic side will always have more for us than what any of those big superstar movies possess. It is the same realization that makes a lot of people to arrive at the theatres on a rainy day, defying all odds to get a ticket for this rather simple a movie – even the advance bookings have been even more. When the first movie was a success, the second movie has become a bigger challenge, as he has to match the glory, and here, with his brilliance continuing, Dileesh Pothan has kept Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum working, even though not as much as Maheshinte Prathikaaram.

Release date: 30th June 2017
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: Dileesh Pothan
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Alencier Ley Lopez, Nimisha Sajayan, Soubin Shahir, Shince Mathew, Jithin KC, Vettukili Prakash, Sreekanth Murali

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Criminal

criminal-2

Vampire Owl: I am suffering from a thriller overdose.

Vampire Bat: And also the science fiction overdose. This movie is both, just like many other flicks which we have been watching in the recent days.

Vampire Owl: Why is it that there are not enough of such movies made here, and we have to keep depending on the Hollywood all the time?

Vampire Bat: We are specialised in drama, aren’t we?

Vampire Owl: And the romance. You see the latest one, the sequel to Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania.

Vampire Bat: You mean Badrinath Ki Dulhania. Who makes sequels to a dumb movie?

Vampire Owl: A sequel to a super-hit dumb movie.

Vampire Bat: Which is the dumb movie which is not a super-hit in Bollywood?

Vampire Owl: I can only remember Besharam and Tamasha.

Vampire Bat: I am not letting them doing a science fiction thriller. It would mean the beginning of the end.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with biriyani rice and gravy].

What is the movie about? :: Xavier Heimdahl (Jordi Molla) is a newly turned anarchist, a former businessman looking forward to bringing the downfall of all world government and initiate a reign of chaos. For the same, a hacker known by the code name “the Dutchman”, Jan Strook (Michael Pitt) is forced to create a computer program that would be able to bypass all security features, and get to the nuclear defense codes of as many nations as possible. But fearing for what will happen afterwards, Jan panics and contacts Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds) who is a CIA agent based in London. Even though Bill manages to get the money and also make the deal with Jan, he is unable to get the money to him, and also safely transport the hacker from the safehouse, as he is captured by the group of terrorists and murdered while trying to extract information.

So, what happens next? :: Now, the situation is that nobody knows where Jan is, and very much desperate to get to the hacker, the senior CIA agen Quaker Wells (Gary Oldman) contacts Dr. Micah Franks (Tommy Lee Jones) who has been running a number of experiments related to implanting memories on human brain. Micah agrees that theoretically speaking, he could transplant the memories of a dead man into the brain of a living person who volunteers for the experiment, but it has never been tested before, and nobody can figure out how it turns out to be for the receiver of these memories. A criminal Jerico Stewart (Kevin Costner) seems like the best option for the same for Micah, even though Quaker wants an agent to do the same. But an early childhood brain trauma makes Jerico the best choice according to Micah, and so they go forward with the same.

And what follows the transfer :: They bring a reluctant Jerico to the laboratory and conduct the experiment. In the beginning, it seems unsuccessful, and Jerico doesn’t respond to the questions asked related to Bill. But Jerico escapes the captivity, and memories of Bill begins to flash through his mind. As the memories keep coming to his mind, he keeps experiencing different emotions as well. Meanwhile, Jan decides to sell his program to the Russians believing that CIA is not ready to pay him, and has decided to back out of the deal. At the same time, Xavier and his henchwoman Elsa Mueller (Antje Traue) are looking forward to capture Jerico and find out where Jan is hiding, but it is the CIA who gets to him first. But the question remains if Jerico can remember the significant things, and even if he does, will he tell the CIA or the terrorists the truth?

The defence of Criminal :: There is a wonderful premise in store with Criminal, and it also finishes off well with a nice twist, and a fine ending which is going to appeal to most of the people. The pace is good, and we get into all the action very early, which makes sure that we are interested in what is to happen at the next moment, as things keep going out of control for the protagonists and the world almost ready to descend into chaos. Kevin Costner comes in a role which we are sure to remember more than any other in the recent past, as this one seems to suit him so well at all points. Gal Gadot has a nice emotional role to perform as we see her after all the action in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Antje Traue whom we had seen in Man of Steel and Pandorum gets another tough role to perform, and she might be the strongest of them all. There is also the strength of having Gary Oldman and Tommy Lee Jones in two major roles.

The claws of flaw :: With its tale, Criminal could have surely achieved much more – it is something that we can all be sure about without doubt. The story could have been further developed into something bigger, dealing with brain and memories as Hollywood find it fit. This is an idea which has survived enough to be capable of bringing more, and that could have been something under focus. This is the kind of idea which could even be rather scary when we look at it. To add to the same, most characters are not dealt with well enough either, and there the focus goes limited. It was also strange to see Ryan Reynolds who has been two Marvel superheroes, Deadpool and the Green Lantern being being used so less, with his character dying so early. Alice Eve whom we last saw in a big movie in Star Trek Into Darkness, also gets much less here.

How it finishes :: For some reason, Criminal is a lesser known science fiction thriller around here, but it could have given many other movies a fight at the box-office if it had gained some hype here. Yes, Criminal is a lot better than some of those movies which gained too many positive reviews than they should have. Most of these faults which seem to have been found are not really that much of a problem if you take a deeper look at it and feel what you are really looking for from this movie within its genre. At the same time, Criminal also asks some very interesting questions about what makes a person – is it his memories, his emotions, or what he or others think that he is? Well, maybe all of them along with the situations – but there is a chance that none of them well. Go and see how it is made with the main character in this movie.

Release date: 15th April 2016
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Ariel Vromen
Starring: Kevin Costner, Gal Gadot, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones, Alice Eve, Michael Pitt, Jordi Molla, Antje Traue, Scott Adkins, Amaury Nolasco, Ryan Reynolds, Colin Salmon, Tommy Hatto, Robert Davi, Richard Reid, Natalie Burn, Lara Decaro

criminal

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.