Malayalam’s obsession with murder mysteries has not delivered spectacular results off late with “Forensic” (2020), “Cold Case” (2021) and “Irul” (2021) not at all striking a chord with audiences. As a mature audience exposed to hit detective procedurals like “Elementary”, “Sherlock” as well as Hollywood it takes superlative writing and superior making (like “Anjaam Pathiraa” (2020)) to impress the Malayali audience and “21 grams” achieves just that.
Despite struggling off late with off-kilter roles in “Ente Mezhuthiri Athazhangal” (2018) and “Vidhi” (2022), Anoop Menon returns to the suave police officer role that made him such a household named in the era-defining “Traffic” (2011). He stars as DYSP Nanda Kishore, a capable police office struggling with his own familial issues, tasked with solving a perplexing murder of a young doctor.
Written and directed by debutante Bibin Krishna, the narrative is painstakingly built with a first act setting a grand stage of varied characters whose motivations and natures are kept deliciously ambiguous. The camera work from cinematographer Jithu Damodar is especially eye-catching with a lot of the narrative happening on vehicles and the roads, the way he builds suspense with the nature and positioning of his shots was a joy to watch.
Despite some overdramatic elements in portions, 21 Grams is an engrossing, immensely watchable thriller with a splendid narrative style that will keep you guessing. While the many twists are not entire unguessable, the way the layers of the story unravel and culminate in a gut-punch of a climax is pleasing to watch, especially unfolding on the big screen.
A recommended watch. Do try to catch it in theatres before its OTT release-the cinematography and sound design are well worth it!
Review by nidhunmoviebuff