When you look at the latest movie, 2018, from Jude Anthany Joseph on a script level, the placement of characters and events is pretty generic. Since it is a story that is talking about an event that happened just five years back with too much coverage on it still accessible to many, the focus of the film isn’t really to impress the viewers with a compelling screenplay. But after establishing the plot in the first half in a reasonably okay manner, Jude elevates the movie’s drama to a tremendous high by executing the sequences with impressive perfection. With quality sound design and production design combined with top-notch visual effects, 2018 effectively documents the unity and struggle of Kerala during that calamity.
The film is set against the backdrop of the 2018 floods. We are introduced to multiple characters who are at different junctures in their life. There is a military dropout who wants to get out of the place because of the humiliation he faces. There is an aspiring model who thinks his belonging to a fishermen’s family is a roadblock. There is a taxi driver who has decided to take two foreigners for an all-Kerala trip. We have a reporter who covers both sides of the Mullapperiyar story. How all these characters and more connected to them became victims, survivors, and fighters in this unprecedented calamity is what we see in the movie 2018: Everyone Is A Hero.
When you look at that whole event, the task of making this film is not that easy. It had affected various parts of Kerala, and there was a collective effort to bounce back. So when you write a movie on such a massive canvas that can be perceived from various angles, selecting which perspective you wish to follow is crucial. I think the smartness of 2018 comes in that aspect. Instead of making it an extensive Kerala story, Jude Anthany Joseph focuses on a particular place. He includes every memorable act of kindness, valor, and heartbreak in the events happening in that area. That sort of helps them in creating the panic the people felt without really going for big-scale visuals of damage. And the idea of involving a Tamil character who was actually enjoying the benefits of heavy rain in his village was also smart.
If you look at the screen time, it won’t be wrong to call Tovino Thomas’s Anoop the film’s central character. His character is perhaps the most detailed one in the movie with a proper arc, and Tovino has done a brilliant job of presenting Anoop as this lovable and earnest young man. Asif Ali somewhere goes back to the wreckless youngman stereotype, but it doesn’t really matter as the movie has a different agenda altogether. Narain and Lal, as the father-son duo, were good. Kunchako Boban’s character is mostly stuck in the control room, but occasionally he gets scenes that demand the actor in him. Vineeth Sreenivasan and Gauthami Nair get a track that always felt like a cliched trope in a disaster film. Aparna Balamurali’s character also gets ignored after a point. Tanvi Ram, Aju Varghese, Indrans, Sudhish, Kalaiyarasan, and several other names are there in this elaborate cast.
What is appreciable about Jude Anthany Joseph’s vision is that instead of comprehensive documentation, he gives the audience an experience of that one night when Kerala was very much sleepless. The entire sequence where the family of the character, played by Sudhish, struggles to survive is just top-notch. You won’t feel the element of set or visual effects in how it was conceived. A similar well-executed scene was the entry of the fishermen to the rescue. It was a goosebumps moment in real life, and Jude managed to recreate that on the big screen neatly. The underwater sequences had great finesse. Akhil George’s cinematography made sure that the ambiance looked real. And I loved how he used the dolly zoom effect on certain goosebumps moments in the story to achieve that dramatic high. The background score was perfect, and the songs never really disrupted the film’s rhythm.
2018 is not a movie that walked away from a template we all expected. It is very much a template film that has various characters with various sets of personal issues uniting for one cause. From the caricature-like representation of the tourist to cheesy moments of inspiring quotes, some areas fall flat on a writing level. But like I said, the execution of the second half that captures the struggle and angst people faced during the floods was top-notch. The feel factor was so great that you will tend to forgive the flaws in the writing of this movie.
The feel factor was so great that you will tend to forgive the flaws in the writing of this movie.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended