Thalavan Review | A Watchable Crime Thriller That Misses Out on the Wow Factor

The feel-good space has been the safe zone of director Jis Joy, and when he tried something different in Innale Vare, the response wasn’t that warm. Thalavan, his new film, a police investigation drama, is yet another attempt to crack a zone that Jis hasn’t explored. With two strong actors carrying their respective roles with the required heft, Thalavan is not a dull film. A tidier approach towards the construction of the antagonist would have made the movie a little more intriguing.

SI Karthik Vasudevan, who has got five transfers during his one and a half years of service, gets his new appointment in a police station in Kannur. The outspoken and hierarchy-defying attitude of Karthik causes tension between him and CI Jayashankar. In the midst of the cold war between the two, a murder happens in the house of CI, and long story short, the political figures decide to assign Karthik to find the culprit in the story. What we see in the film is Karthik’s efforts to find the killer and Jayashankar’s efforts to prove his innocence.

Even though the movie is not consistent in maintaining the thriller bits, what really works in favor of the movie is the establishment of character dynamics. The rough edges between the characters are established quickly, and those moments don’t look forceful. Karthik’s arrogance towards the orders looks pretty genuine, and the equations these characters share with one another are so real that the proceedings of the case create curiosity. Where the film feels a bit sluggish is when both characters are in a trapped situation. The character arc of the antagonist is really good, but the way he gets exposed lacked the desired level of excitement.

In terms of screen time, Asif Ali has the bigger role in the film, and the arrogance of Karthik is different from the kind of arrogance we have seen him portray in his other works. The unflinching confidence in Karthik’s eyes makes him a tough guy, and when he goes up against Jayashankar, there is no hesitation. Biju Menon’s portrayal of Jayashankar is different from how he pulled off Ayyappan Nair. The character is louder, and there is a swagger that makes Jayashankar the superior one. Kottayam Nazeer gets a grey-shaded character as police officer Reghu. Dileesh Pothan as DYSP Udayabhanu was fine in his role. Anusree and Miya have very minimal screen time in this movie. Bilas Chandrahasan got a very meaty character in the film, and he was really good at depicting all the shades of that character.

The thing with the script written by Anand Thevarkkatand and Sarath Perumbavoor is that it tries to find the cinematic balance by placing familiar blocks in the film. The subtle foreshadowing of the antagonist and his backstory was really good. But there are several decoys in the film, that somewhere become very evident by the time we reach the final act. A thriller script becomes a successful one when you, as an audience, are manipulated to believe in a possibility that has a decoy character placed by the makers. Here, that cleverness was not there. You could easily identify the inconsequential ones. The wide aspect ratio and the medium close-up shots give a sense of intensity to each frame in the movie. Technically, one of the weakest parts of the movie was the fights. Be it the fight inside the jail or the final one inside the house of the antagonist, it just felt very staged, either due to bad editing or a lackluster action choreography. I was slightly disappointed with the use of that appealing Thalavan title track for an area that looked ambiguous rather than thrilling.

Because of the intra-police investigation happening in the story, the narrative is generating an interest in the audience’s mind on how it will all end. But as the film reaches its culmination, one could see what all were the unnecessary distractions. The psychopathic traits in the characterization of the villain would also remind you of movies with a similar approach. Thalavan is not spectacular, but definitely watchable.

Final Thoughts

A tidier approach towards the construction of the antagonist would have made the movie a little more intriguing.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.