Chaaver Review | A Weak Thriller Made Watchable Through Quality Visuals and Soundscape

Tinu Pappachan is known for his visual style, which abundantly uses slow-motion shots and saturated colors. Chaaver, his third film written by Joy Mathew, is a very basic and generic thriller with the backdrop of Kannur politics that gets saved due to Tinu’s ability to add depth through visual storytelling. With the visually captivating grammar of the movie constantly finding itself in an inadequate space, this 129-minute movie is appreciable for its craft rather than writing.

A quotation gang has been given a task by a political leader to finish off a young fellow. As the movie begins, this task is over, but it wasn’t as smooth as they had planned, and the escape plan needed some restructuring. With the leader Ashokan getting badly injured and the murder having political repercussions, the escape becomes complicated. What we see is the efforts of the gang to stay away from the radar of the investigative team.

The history of political killings in Kannur has always fascinated filmmakers, and the gaze has always been from the perspective of the innocent people who died in these events. It’s a pretty grey area where the debate swings between who had the most casualties and also the apolitical nature of the peace seekers. Joy Mathew is definitely eyeing to tap into the general notion, but he knows the risk of taking a side. So even though the movie seems like a direct attack on the inner democracy of the left parties, Joy Mathew plays it safe in the end by detaching the party from the deed. The written content for the movie has this basic nature that almost everyone knows about Kannur politics. But what is impressive is how Tinu Pappachan created layers around whatever little was available.

Tinu starts the movie with those highly saturated red-tinted visuals, and the framing gives you a clear idea of what to expect. Since the script is somewhat slim and the story mainly focuses on the events that unfold in around 48 hours, a certain sense of detailing to each moment is necessary to keep us engaged. Using these visuals that sort of use the landscape and locations to enhance the angst, Tinu Pappachan and his DOP Jinto George make this thriller very atmospheric. In the second half’s initial portions, we find Tinu overtly using his jarring visual style excessively to cover up the lack of events. The film’s soundscape somewhat saves the movie from being a bore in those portions. The aggressive edit pattern also helps the film cover up the blandness to an extent.

As Ashokan, the central character of the film and the head of the temporary gang, Kunchako Boban has rough edges in terms of looks. But somewhere in the second half, when all the characters are in a vulnerable spot, you can sense the chocolate-boy tenderness in his performance. Manoj KU gets a very prominent role in the movie as Musthafa, and he was pretty good at that. The naivety with which Arjun Ashokan’s character has been written is sort of annoying. Arjun tries his best to make that ignorance look believable on screen, but it comes across as a forced act to create an innocent character. Sajin Gopu was good in his character, along with Anuroop (The groom in Thinkalazhcha Nishchayam). Antony Varghese’s Kiran is more like an extended cameo, and it was actually great to see Tinu Pappachan offering him a role that was very distant from violence. Sangita, Deepak Parambol, Joy Mathew, Rajesh Sharma, etc., are the prominent names in the cast.

As the disciple of Lijo Jose Pellissery, I would say Tinu Pappachan has definitely learned how to have a signature on the movies he wants to create. It’s just that his choice of theme and script are often very shallow. Chaaver is not a movie that you will find difficult to sit through. The lethargic writing that feels bland in terms of placing ideas never really looked worthy of such quality making.

Final Thoughts

With the visually captivating grammar of the movie constantly finding itself in an inadequate space, this 129-minute movie is appreciable for its craft rather than writing.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.