Director: Khalid Rahman
Cast: Rajisha Vijayan, Shine Tom Chacko, Gokulan, Johny Antony
Love, a thriller directed by Khalid Rahman of Anuraga Karikkin Vellam and Unda, is a grim, flagrantly mediocre film made up of an excess of macro close-ups and slow-motion motion shots used to stretch the narrative out to clock the feature film length.
The film is built on a narrative conceit, too small and juvenile, the kind that makes for amateur YouTube short films. Worse, Rahman fails to create a plausible, let alone intriguing, narrative to contain it. Shot during the lockdown period in 2020, Love unfolds inside an apartment in Kochi. It opens to a violent confrontation between a young woman, Deepthi (Rajisha Vijayan), and Anoop (Shine Tom Chacko), her husband. Their verbal exchanges are muted. As the couple goes about hitting, stabbing and hurling things at each other, a piece of peppy music starts playing in the background, as though to drain out the deafening unimaginativeness of the scene. At the end of it, the man throws the woman to the wall. Her head hits an enlarged portrait of them in a romantic pose, spelling it out for the audience: their love story has ended in tragedy.
At the heart of the movie is adultery. But there is no real question or a meaningful examination of the subject, just longwinded conversations where the characters beat around the bush. While one can understand the spacial limitations the filmmaker must have had while making this film during the lockdown, there is no excuse for the utterly lacklustre dialogue lines in the film that sound impromptu. The male characters talk, mumble and occasionally fume about loving someone else’s wife, being unable to love one’s wife, and their wife’s decision to marry/love someone else.
In the perambulatory first half, a depressed friend (Gokulan) gulps down several glasses of alcohol and walks back and forth his decision to kill himself. There might not have been a more pointless and annoying character in Malayalam cinema since Mohanlal played Ittymaani two years ago.
The only actor who has a decent moment in the film is Johny Antony, who plays Deepthi’s father. The audience who haven’t given up and dozed off might feel gratified when he delivers a mighty slap on Anoop’s cheek and tells him that he is a good-for-nothing.
The Malayalam film industry, crippled by the year-long lockdown is in dire need for a revival, but there isn’t a lack of good content for a viewer, thanks to digital platforms. The filmmakers now have to deal with an audience who can afford to move away from mediocre big-screen content and choose better content online. In this case, Love, a cocky movie translation of a feeble idea, cannot compete with smarter and more efficient web shows. It has nothing significant to say. There are a handful of moderately gruesome images and a final reveal, but they can only do so much on its own.
Unlike Rahman’s previous films, which were characterised by a youthful passion for exploring an idea, Love is a poorly directed, boring movie. If anything must shock the viewer, it isn’t the murder mystery at its heart but its indifference towards the audience’s intellect.
The Love review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Silverscreenindia.com and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.