Iraivan Review | A Pretentious Whodunit That Mistakes Gore for Craft

Coherence is essential when it comes to thrillers, even if the supporting facts are over the top or nearly impossible. Iraivan, the new Jayam Ravi film directed by I Ahmed, feels like a psycho thriller that thinks the peripheral gore and pointless convolutions will make any basic concept an exceptional thriller. The obsession with blood spill is so evident that you are almost exhausted from seeing dead bodies by the end of the first half of this film.

SPOILER ALERT! ACP Arjun is our hero; he was this fearless police officer who never bothered about dying while fighting criminals. A psycho killer, who calls himself the smiley killer, started to kill many young women in the town, and Arjun and his friend Andrew were in charge of the case. Even though they eventually managed to catch the smiley killer, it came at the cost of losing Andrew. How that incident changes the life of Arjun and how the return of that killer makes things complicated for the force, and Arjun is what we see in Iraivan.

Conviction is the primary issue that is making this movie look a bit silly from the beginning. How this movie establishes the first antagonist at a swift speed does not create the tension it aspires to create. Director I Ahmed wants to recreate the intensity we have witnessed in movies like Ratsasan, Thani Oruvan, etc. But his observation about the characters in those movies is pretty shallow. The second half of the film, where the script and the antagonist seem hallucinated, is going after pointless violence just to make things look complicated.

Jayam Ravi, with his standard set of intense expressions, fits into the character description of Arjun. Just like Thani Oruvan, the character here is going through a lot, so we can see him performing all sorts of emotions. Nayanthara is an unnecessary addition to the movie as the story rarely cares about its leading lady. The climax dilemma that has something to do with the character played by her felt like a forced addition just to make us think that her character is relevant. With those big eyes, Rahul Bose matches the description of a cliched psychopath in films. It is actually Vinoth Kishan who is doing the heavy lifting for the film. While I was really impressed by how he pulled off that tricky character, the fact that it was a poorly-written character takes away the charm from that performance.

As I already said, the movie somewhere misunderstands gore as a tool to create intense moments. The obsession towards showing the corpse of young women is so high that at one point, I started wondering, in the real world, the PM and President might come and camp in Chennai for something of this scale. The worst part is the second half, which is clueless about handling the copycat thriller. The script is full of loose ends in that area, as we can’t even figure out why the hero obeys everything the villain says. The efforts to mislead us to believe that something fishy is happening are also really bizarre on screen. Hari K. Vedantam’s cinematography extensively uses neon lights and shadows to create an eerie atmosphere. Yuvan Shankar Raja’s music isn’t really creating much of an impact.

Iraivan, with its running time of 154 minutes, is an exhausting psycho-thriller that tests your common sense rather than patience. Being convoluted and unpredictable is indeed a good aspect of whodunit thrillers. But doing that just for the sake of it without really giving any solid reason is just pretentious filmmaking.

Final Thoughts

Iraivan, with its running time of 154 minutes, is an exhausting psycho-thriller that tests your common sense rather than patience.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.