When you look at the overall setting of the movie Por Thozhil, you will be reminded of movies like Ratsasan, Anjaam Paathira, etc. But the film, co-written and directed by Vignesh Raja, knows how to restructure the familiar elements. Vignesh Raja and writer Alfred Prakash deliver a consistently engaging film with gentler messaging by adding arcs to protagonists and backstories to antagonists.
A newly joined SP trainee Prakash is our hero. He was never really a fan of the police job but had to take it up due to family pressure. For his first investigation, Prakash is assigned to assist SP Lokanathan, who is not known as a friendly person in the department. The movie talks about this particular investigation by Lokanathan about a series of murders of young women around Trichy. Prakash’s struggle and learning from this investigation is what we see in Por Thozhil.
The inclusion of humor into the plot is actually done very smartly. In the earlier portions of the movie, they tend to make the humor almost a side track that can be chopped out. But the fear of Prakash, the idea of linking mustache with masculinity, his inability to strike good conversations, etc., creates naturally funny scenes. Another good aspect of the writing is how it acknowledges this new genre cliche of making things grey by empathizing with the psychopath. There is a scene in the movie where Prakash and Lokanathan quarrel about the origin of a serial killer. In fact, the bad guys’ backstories in this film humanize them without necessarily justifying their deeds.
Almost every character in Por Thozhil has got a back story. And they have taken different methods and tones to narrate each. While Prakash narrates his reason for joining the forces in a slightly humorous anecdote, Kennedy’s version is actually very disturbing and detailed. Even though Lokanathan’s character has no evident backstory, the way he tears up in the climax somewhere gives you an idea about his childhood. It could have easily been a spoon-fed thriller that talks about good parenting. But Vignesh Raja prioritizes the thriller aspect; thus, the movie rarely fails to create intrigue. The movie’s overall pacing is impressive as it never lingers on a particular scene or event for too long. The cinematography has the typical traits of a psycho-killer drama, especially in how the colors and shadows are used. Jakes Bejoy’s background score was impressive, and it feels very different from his usual style in Malayalam.
SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH IF YOU DON’T WANT ANY SORT OF SPOILERS! Ashok Selvan portrays the gradual transition of Prakash neatly on the screen. There was a chance of him overdoing the character in the initial bits as the character’s insecurities were being used to create humor. But Ashok Selvan doesn’t make Prakash a caricature at any point, and the climax gun-swagger sequence was fantastic to watch. R Sarathkumar, who plays the stringent police officer Lokanathan has the aura and screen presence to pull off the experience of someone who has been in the force for a long time. Sarath Babu as Kennedy was pretty intimidating, and he performed the character quirks in a way that you would feel the same discomfort the characters on screen felt. Nikhila Vimal gets to play a crucial character with relatively minimal screen time. Malayalam actors Santhosh Keezhattoor and Sunil Sukhada were great choices for their roles in the film. But being a Malayali who knows their original sound, it was a bit unsettling in the initial bits to accept them in a different voice.
As I already said, Por Thozhil is not exploring uncharted territory or reinventing an existing formula. But it has tweaked the formula to create a serial killer drama that will hold your interest till the end. With the messaging part getting a solid foundation through an intense cat-and-mouse game, Por Thozhil is a winning thriller with a familiar backdrop.
Por Thozhil is not exploring uncharted territory or reinventing an existing formula. But it has tweaked the formula to create a serial killer drama that will hold your interest till the end.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended