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    Thread: Malik

    Description: A visually effec yet flawed and empty crime saga
    1. #1
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      Default Malik


      When this movie was first announced, I could not contain my excitement. If there was one movie in recent times that I could proudly show off as a pan-Indian movie, Take Off was that movie. It heralded the birth of a slick, efficient director who brought realistic thrills that seemingly matched pan-Indian if not international movie making standards.

      After watching Malik (and to a lesser degree C U Soon), I can say that the talent is still there in abundance, but there is still work to be done in handling complex genres like the subject matter that is handled in this particular film.

      Malik is a movie that spans multiple timelines and narratives and also charts the journeys of Suleiman (Ali) Malik, David and Roselyn. We start with the present, with a stunning one-take 12 minute opening which oozes tension, great atmosphere along with terrific frames. As long as Malik is in the present and we watch the politicians and police's manouverings and politics and the families' reactions, the film is a thrill to watch. When the movie moves to the past (1980, 1990, 2002 etc), it becomes a bit undewhelming and unfocused.

      Mahesh Narayanan's direction is assured, his editing efficient and Sanu Varghese's frames visually spectacular. Malik is one movie which could be easily watched in theaters along with Nayattu and Drishyam 2 this year. However, where Malik falters is that even after 2 h 45 minutes of exposition, we get no sense of feeling about these characters, their motivations and the climax ends in a whimper. The dialogues, which are so so important in a period crime drama, fall flat, while the characterisation of the principal cast remain one-note, their body language and mannerisms hardly changing over a time span of 40 years, except for Malik's unintentionally comical young avatar that is.

      Nimisha Sajayan's limitations as an actress once again come to the fore, as the actress wears a one note expression throughout her time in this film from age 20 upwards. She is also let down by poor characterisation and development, as the writer-director who took 5 steps forward in the conception of Sameera as a memorable female character in Take Off, takes 10 steps backward in Roselyn's depiction in this movie to be a submissive wife with no identity of her own. That said, Nimisha does do an effective job as the older version of Roselyn and anchors some of the film's critical portions. The real star of the show is Vinay Fort, whose earnest nature that takes a dark turn is so well handled and the role of David is going to be a turning point of his career. Most of the supporting cast do their roles perfectly, be it Dileesh Pothen, Jalaja in a crucial matriarchal role that needed more screentime, Indrans and even seemingly minor characters at the beginning who turn important at the end. The one notable disappointment is Joju George in a rare mis-step.

      Mahesh Narayanan narrates Malik like a grandparent telling a bedtime story to their child, without any feeling or emotion as to the characters and their arcs and inner conflicts. In particular, we never really get to know how Suleiman Malik becomes this dreaded don. What are his dreams? How does he feel as he makes enemies mid-way through? What is his relationship with his mother really like? What are his underlying motivations?

      Fahadh Fazil is this generation's best actor. Yet even he stumbles under the weight of this multi-dimensional portrayal. As the young Malik, he is all over the place. As the older Malik, he has his moments but mostly it is evident he is trying too hard to be a youngish actor portraying an old man. As mid-age Malik, he is most assured but there is honestly nothing out of the ordinary that is required there because his director is in too much of a hurry to simply narrate events without exploring the characters.

      Ultimately, Malik shows that Mahesh Narayanan needs a scriptwriter who can bring life and memorability to the characters of his films. The conflict scenes, tsunami shots, action scenes are brilliantly staged. But he stages the events at a breathless place without letting his characters talk to us, think and ends up in a one-note, unmemorable climax. I loved the message of religious and political leaders making ordinary people do henious acts through their propaganda and also how the younger generation fall into the life of crime that was set up by their fathers. But aside from that, Malik is just another technically great film with an ordinary and bland story that leaves one feeling empty. Nonetheless, it is never boring and watchable due to the craft and making of the crew.

      Rating: 3/5

    2. #2
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      Thanks Arvind

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