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CBI 5: The Brain

Farhad Dalal
Farhad Dalal
3 Star popcorn reviewss


The new releases from the weekend are still pouring into the weekdays. And so moving on to the next release of the extended weekend and I finished watching the new Malayalam film CBI 5 – The Brain on Netflix. After a successful run at the cinemas, this film makes its way to the OTT platform Netflix. I am always excited for a Malayalam film and especially when it stars one of my favourites Mammootty. But when I was reading some of its reviews, people wern’t very happy with this film as compared to some of its earlier parts. Now, I haven’t watched any of the previous parts and so I have absolutely no reference of how the previous films of the franchise were. So with a blank slate, I finished watching CBI 5 – The Brain on Netflix. Is it worth your time, stay tuned.

Story & Screenplay

CBI 5 – The Brain follows the investigation behind the string of murders which take place including that of a minister. What is the mystery behind this whodunnit? The story is your typical investigative drama which initially features the conflict between the police and the CBI only for the latter to take over the case. The screenplay is a twisted investigative thriller which I feel could have been slightly better as well. Standing at almost 3 hours, the screenplay is overwhelming but at the same time very watchable. It begins on an uneven note where the writer who was tasked of creating the world was caught up between rushing through things and tactfully creating a world. So what transpires is that the murders take place in a jiffy one scene after the other before the audience is settled in the drama.

What follows is a police investigation but then things start to get interesting with the entry of the protagonist who is in charge of the CBI. And it is this period that is the most twisted and thrilling one which features the investigation. There are multiple subplots designed to confuse you with multiple characters which will keeps you guessing. And the second half formulates an engaging goose hunt where some subplots are either left unanswered or they meet with a dead end. Nevertheless, the proceedings are thrilling and very engaging although there are minor loopholes here and there.

But then the issue again resurfaces at the ending. The grand reveal lacked the buildup(which was present in a film like 21 grams) and it was rather underwhelming as well despite the fact that I did not guess the final culprit. It just seemed too trivial and it didn’t match with where the drama was headed or the significance of it. Somehow, it just didn’t sit well for me summing up a screenplay which was thrilling and twisted for most parts but not without its share of shortcomings.

Dialogues, Music & Direction

The dialogues are adequate but they could have been much better. There are no songs in its entire runtime so the flow of the drama is not stalled. The BGM especially during the entry of the protagonist and the grand reveal is sizzling. The cinematography is decent. Director K Madhu does a fair job here. While I haven’t watched any of his previous installments, he had the task of creating a sense of nostalgia along with another interesting tale of thrill. And he does a fair job here, his direction definitely has moments which shine but there are also moments which felt a tad outdated and those which missed the mark.


The performances by the ensemble are pretty good. Dileesh Pothan as the CM, Swasika as Merlin, Sudev Nair as SI Iqbal and Kaniha as Susan George all have their moments to shine. Ansiba Hassan as Anitha is first rate as is Asha Sharath as Pratibha. Anoop Menon as Unnithan is absolutely phenomenal. Jagathy Sreekumar as Vikram, Saikumar as Sathyadas and Mukesh as Chacko are terrific. Soubin Shahir(conceiling his name to avoid spoilers) is quite brilliant and the smaller nuances which he brings to his character is so refreshing. Mammootty as Sethurama Iyer is very well restrained and he brings all his experience into play even when things around him seem to crumble. Absolutely brilliant!


CBI 5 – The Brain is a twisted investigative thriller which can be watched once. But considering the high standard of Malayalam films, this one does fall short due to its shortcomings in the writing department and direction. Available on Netflix.

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