Twenty One Grams
It is a serial killer night for me and I can’t hold my excitement. For those of you who have been following my reviews know that I am a fan of the serial killer movies and they are pretty much my staple diet. So one of the subscribers(A huge shoutout to Chacko) of my Youtube Channel “Popcorn Reviewss”(please subscribe) recommended me a Malayalam serial killer film, I was sold right there! The film was Twenty One Grams which had earlier had a theatrical release and now has made its way to the OTT giant Hotstar. When I talk about serial killer films from Malayalam Cinema, the one which pops straight to my head is the 2020 film Anjaam Pathiraa which was an excellent film. Another one was Forensic which was pretty good too as was the recently released film Antakshari. So it is a genre which has been tapped into and successfully so by the Malayalam Film Industry. And this weekend, despite having so many new releases, I decided to give Twenty One Grams my priority, in hope that it will join the club of serial killer films which I often do recommend. So then does Twenty One Grams meet my massive expectations, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Twenty One Grams is the story of the investigation which takes place following a couple of grizzly murders which take place in Kochi. The story has all the ingredients for a lip smacking serial killer film. The screenplay standing at around 133 minutes is brilliant and it really holds your attention throughout. It opens on a rather slow note which is understandable, considering the fact that you need to build a world and flesh out some purpose-driven characters. So you are introduced to the protagonist and the other characters around him and you get to know that the protagonist and his wife is grief-stricken while he carries on his duties of investigating the murders in his city.
I really enjoyed how the writers were able to co-relate two completely separate events and weave them in the narrative. The drama unfolds in a non linear manner as it oscillates between two timelines at the very beginning. You may feel slightly sluggish to begin with but soon you are sucked into the drama so much so that you start playing the guessing game yourself! The terrific opening sequences completes a full circle at the halfway mark which is truly nail biting stuff!
There are various twists and turns which will keep you invested. Being a cinephile and my experience with serial killer films, I was able to decipher the killer well before the end. But this puzzle is not easy to solve and I am pretty sure that the audience would play the guessing all along. The moment you think you may have cracked the case, a twist is thrown in and promptly so! The final revelation is at the very last minute in a brilliantly constructed final act. The issue or the reasoning given is also quite valid and relevant, summing up a screenplay which is brilliantly penned!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are quite cerebral and they leave a lasting impact. The BGM is good and it blends so well with the drama! The cinematography and the subsequent lighting in certain scenes is just excellent and it enhances the movie watching experience almost ten fold. Director Bibin Krishna in his debut outing has done a terrific job. I was very impressed with the way he was able to contruct the world of intrigue. He almost knew the pulse of the audience and he encouraged them to play the guessing game. His direction is truly top notch with the manner of joining two seemingly unrelated worlds.
The performances are excellent. Ranjith as Dr. John Samuel has his moments to shine as does Mareena Michael Kurisingal who shines in a combat sequence. Lena as SP Rachael is first rate. Aji John as Jimmy and Jeeva Joseph as Nikhil are both brilliant as is Chandunath Nair as Martin. Manasa Radhakrishnan as Anjali is outstanding and she has a great presence onscreen. Anu Mohan as Sunny is earnest and sincere. Leona Lishoy as Gouri is well restrained in a character that required her to internalize a lot. Anoop Menon as DYSP Nanda Kishore is such a natural onscreen. It was an absolute pleasure watching him onscreen.
Twenty One Grams is a Brilliant Jigsaw Puzzle of a serial killer film which will keep you guessing until the very end. Available on Hotstar and Highly Recommended!