After a day’s break yesterday on the occasion of India’s Independence Day(and Popcorn Reviewss team wishes everyone A Happy Independence Day too), we are back with a review of a Malayalam film John Luther which is streaming on Manorama Max. Before that, Popcorn Reviewss wishes everyone Navroze Mubarak on the occasion of Parsi New Year(and the festivities have just begun). But for the moment, back to the review. This was that one Malayalam film which I feel is less talked about in the mainstream. It also doesn’t help that it has premiered on Manorama Max which is a lesser known OTT. But having said that, the film may have been immensely popular in Kerala because I had been getting multiple recommendations to review it on my Youtube Channel Popcorn Reviewss(Please Subscribe😊). So without knowing an iota of what to expect, I ventured into the film John Luther. Is it worth your time, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
John Luther follows the story of a workaholic cop investigating the disappearance of multiple people in the hilly region of Munnar. The story is your usual investigative thriller with an interesting twist. The screenplay standing at just over 2 hours makes for a thoroughly crisp viewing. And the length is just right.
The first thing which I noticed in the drama was the effort to establish the mood of the drama. So in the opening scene itself, the beautiful hills of Munnar were covered with a layer of clouds with a good amount of rain doing the rounds. This as a bus swept past the road only to discovery a dead body on its roof soon after. This was the perfect setup which had me glued right from scene one. This is followed by the introduction of the protagonist whom we get to know is a workaholic so much so that it is bothersome to his family.
The investigation makes for an interesting watch as it is focused without elements of comedy(which other dramas often resort to). The multiple twists and turns are engrossing and will keep you invested throughout. But then what sets this investigation apart from any other is by the introduction of the conflict which I will keep it under wraps. This is the reason why I love Malayalam films a lot. They are self aware of when the drama is getting too one dimensional and vanilla and the writers do make an effort to break the monotony. So the conflict here is an interesting twist of fate for the protagonist and how he is able to overcome it.
The drama is pretty much a nail biting one all throughout barring the last 20 odd minutes when the cat is out of the bag. I did see the twist at the end coming from a distance and that is where the film falters slightly although it does get the mood of the drana right towards the end too. Films like 21 Grams, Antakshari or even Drishyam 2 had a twist up their sleeves till the final reel which did make them special. But here the final twist just did not land. Another minor flaw(and not sure if I can call it a flaw) is whether the personal life of the protagonist could have been tied up in his investigation of either one of them being a suspect or one of them disappearing. But these are minor flaws in yet another well written screenplay.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are adequate and make for a good viewing. The music is pretty good with an even better BGM which does keep you on your toes. The cinematography is breathtaking and it perfectly captures the mood of the drama through some scenic wide angle captures. Director Abhijith Joseph does a brilliant job in holding and maintaining a grip on the narrative right throughout. He is also able to introduce the right amount of emotions but stumbling only in the final act. But overall, his direction is pretty good!
The performances are thoroughly enjoying here. Suvadas Kannur as Rajan has his moments to shine. Drishya Raghunath as Leena and Athmeeya Rajan as Jessy are both first rate. Senthil Krishna and Kumaravel are brilliant in their respective roles. Deepak Parambol is a highly underrated actor and he is natural to the core here as Felix. But it is Jayasurya as John Luther who is absolutely fabulous to watch. The role required some amount of physicality and it was so easy to go overboard here. But he maintains the intensity and remains well restrained throughout.
John Luther is a nail biting and engaging thriller which is well worth your time. Available on Manorama Max.