Cinematographer Sujit Vassudev’s maiden directorial, James and Alice, has an extremely good-looking pair of leads. And little else.
James (Prithviraj Sukumaran) and Alice (Vedhika Kumar) are a couple stuck in a loveless marriage. A struggling ad-film maker and a closet artist, James has hardly any time to spare for his wife and 6-year-old daughter. Alice, a bank employee, is tightly wound, striving as she is to keep the family from sinking. With every passing day, the couple moves farther and farther away, edging inexorably closer to a divorce. But when they can edge no closer, something worse befalls them.
A long-drawn out relationship saga, the film never really comes to terms with its protagonists and their relationship. A muddled and predictable screenplay, further weakened by poorly-written and pretentious dialogues, make the movie a very difficult watch. Take the scene where James meets Alice at a coffee shop during the flashback; what could have been a simple and lovely romantic moment is ruined by a hackneyed quote from Paulo Coelho’s Alchemist.
There is an obvious attempt to make things appear cool and artistic on screen. In the flashback sequences, James, who describes himself as a brilliant bohemian artist with a hand-to-mouth existence, is seen surprising his girlfriend with an expensive pen (to write an exam with) and proposing to her with a ring hidden in a piece of pastry. Adding to the disconnect is Alice, who James describes as his muse, yet is never seen displaying any interest in James’ art.
There are many unintentionally funny instances where characters turn overtly dramatic and mouth mindlessly philosophical lines to prove their point, big and small. This includes the whole second half, where a strange man arrives with solutions to James’ problems. These portions come across as an inferior replication of movies like The Tree Of Life, Seventh Seal and Mollywood’s own Pranchiyettan And The Saint.
And if one expected Sujith Vassudev’s directorial to be a visual marvel, the movie disappoints there too: the camerawork is as drab as the flashy production design. Gopi Sunder’s overly enthusiastic background score is another letdown.
Prithviraj is adequate as the man in agony, but he is outperformed by his co-star, Vedhika, who effortlessly brings alive Alice. Among the supporting cast, Saikumar shines in his role as Alice’s father. The scenes involving him are among the few convincing moments in the movie.
The James And Alice review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.