Naseef Yusuf Izuddin’s debut film Irul, starring Fahadh Faasil, Soubin Shahir, and Darshana Rajendran as main characters, wants to play that guessing game with the viewer. Like any thriller, we as an audience will constantly be trying to predict the possibility and find the real culprit. But in the case of Irul, it felt more like the performances and production quality made it more and more engaging rather than the script. Irul is an interesting watch for sure, but whether it has that wow or shock factor at the end is in that debatable space.
Alex is the owner of a hospitality firm and the writer of a book named Irul. Archana is his girlfriend, and she is a lawyer. One particular weekend they decided to go for a weekend stay in a remote place. During the journey, Alex’s car broke down, and they went to a nearby house where they met this mysterious man. He welcomed them warmly, but certain things weren’t right about that man and the place. And the film Irul shows us how that night turned out for Alex and Archana.
Spoiler Alert! There are two possibilities in the movie, and Archana is that character looking at the whole thing from the viewer’s perspective. The film is more like us solving the puzzle or choosing to believe a particular track. In the movie, the stranger criticizes Alex’s book about a serial killer by saying that it is vague about the central character’s motive. The title of both the movie and the book is Irul. So I think, through this movie, Naseef and his team of writers are trying to give a psychological depth to the perspective of the killer. But the film also prefers to go after an ambiguous ending, which diminishes the charm it created until that point.
Fahadh Faasil is undeniably the show-stealer here. In the first half of the movie, he is in that commanding aura and manages to generate a sense of curiosity even when we feel that the film is going through a guessable track. In the second half, there is a drastic shift to the character (From Joshua Carlton to Kallan Prasad), and he impresses with his performance even in that area. In terms of body language and expressions, Soubin Shahir manages to be a believable version of the conflicted Alex. But the dialogue delivery and dialect were causing some major issues. Barring a few moments of stiff dialogue rendering, Darshana Rajendran did a really nice job as Archana. The emotional trauma and confusion of the character were portrayed neatly by her.
In terms of building the ambiance, Naseef Yusuf Izuddin has clarity. There is a debate in the movie between the three characters about the book’s central character. Naseef follows a one-take shot with the camera panning (a slow whip pan) from one character to another in a slightly disorienting way. Somewhere I felt he was deliberately messing with the space continuity in that sequence to create the supernatural vibe. The absence of an equally complementing script or conflict is the downside of Irul. The story, written by Sunil Yadav, ultimately ends up being a usual thriller after giving us hopes that something new might happen. The lighting with heavy contrast creates that spooky ambiance.
The production value of the movie Irul is on the higher side, and one can sense Fahadh Faasil as a performer enjoying the portrayal of that mysterious character. What makes this 90 minutes long film watchable were these two factors. If they had taken a different path, things would have been more compelling. The vagueness and the lack of depth in understanding the central character was the drawback of the book they mentioned in the movie, and the film hasn’t done much to sort those issues.
Irul is an interesting watch for sure, but whether it has that wow or shock factor at the end is in that debatable space.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended