If you are someone who has seen the trailer of the latest Vineeth Sreenivasan production, Helen directed by Mathukutty Xavier, you might have made some guesses about the story of the movie. And the movie is mostly following that story. But the good thing about Helen is the way it maintains the tension. As the cheeks and nose of Anna Ben turn red the tension we feel also increases.
As you may all know, Helen is our title protagonist. She works in a shop named Chicken Hub, something similar to KFC. She lives with her LIC agent father and she has a boyfriend named Azhar. Helen who completed nursing is trying to clear IELTS to go to Canada and this job is like a part-time income. The movie deals with the events that follow when Helen gets trapped inside the freezer of her shop. Her survival attempts and her father’s efforts to find her is the soul of Helen.
The treatment is the key here. As I said, we all know what will eventually happen. Helen will survive and the police and her father will find out where she is through whatever evidences they can capture. But Mathukutty Xavier and his writers make sure that the journey towards that inevitable climax is thoroughly engaging. The mini 127 hours of our leading lady is conceived in the most believable way. Trying to stop the freezer fan, covering the body with whatever available and whatever that we would think about as a survival technique happens in this script. And the initial portions sort of establishes the bonding between the characters which helps the movie in making the audience root for the emotions of those characters.
In her second film, Anna Ben delivers a confident and intense performance. The inside freezer sequences are entirely dependent on her ability to portray the struggle of Helen and she was terrific in that. And the likable feel she creates, in the beginning, also plays a key role in making us clap in the end. Lal is really good as a concerned and loving parent. And the father-daughter chemistry was lovely to watch. Noble Thomas who makes his acting debut with this movie is a good choice for the character of Azhar. There are minor fumbles in dialogue delivery when he advocates for Helen in front of her father. One interesting find of this movie is the new version of Aju Varghese. As that crooked and severely narrow-minded police officer, Aju delivers a performance that will make us hate him. He makes sure things are communicated in the most subtle way to make him a believable character. Rony David Raj, Binu Pappu, Srikanth Murali, and a few more people are there in the movie.
Mathukutty Xavier is very clear about the fact this movie won’t work with the use of any last-minute twist. Like any survival thriller movie, there is a character evolvement happening in this movie too. And it is not Helen who is getting transformed, its the people around her who goes through an emotional change knowing about her struggle. The movie is less verbal about the compassion Helen maintains even in her smile and it was so nice to see how that character trait saved her in the end when coincidences couldn’t achieve it. The frames by Anend C Rajendran fits the mood of the movie. The cuts by Shameer Muhammed plays a key role in creating that tensed mode. The makeup and production design team also did a good job of making things convincing on screen.
Helen is a survival thriller on a surface level and it is extremely engaging in being that. With a flawless, charming and absolutely rivetting performance by Anna Ben happening at the center, Helen is definitely an engrossing experience as a thriller.
With a flawless, charming and absolutely rivetting performance by Anna Ben happening at the center, Helen is definitely an engrossing experience as a thriller.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended