Film: Angamaly Diaries
Director: Lijo Jose Pellissery
Cast: Anthony Varghese
KOCHI: If Amen won it with its part-fantasy part-satire novelty, Double Barrel opened doors to 'quirk' making it a genre altogether, this time, Lijo Jose Pellissery has hitched his wagon to a powerhouse of talents. And it was pulled through the celluloid runway effortlessly by 86 newbies!
Angamaly Diaries, as the name and the movie's trailer suggest, is a game of fury; clenched fists, gnashed teeth and acerbic tongues, greasy looks and greasier attitudes make the gangs of Angamaly a mini 'underworld', as the local sub
inspector mockingly puts it.
The film, seemingly about Vincent Pepe (Antony Varghese), runs through his thug life where he picks up fights and fellow gang members, jobs and a few loves along the way. But it strikes one a while later that the movie belongs to a wonderful screenplay (Chemban Vinod) and its technical brilliance. Vincent gets into the business of selling pork meat and encounters more difficulties when petty business tussles turn a shade darker. The film is not about a plot, or the lack of it. There is a thread running, connecting people and events, and what really clicks here is how the local flavour of Angamaly has been fully and unquestionably incorporated into the reel drama.
The first half of the movie uses dramatic elements in the form of a slightly sharp BGM as well as the uncanny bits of comedy interrupting the 'macho' brandishing. And it slowly progresses to conquer levels of intensity, with its raw, edgy, characters holding sway. The screenplay is fresh, dialogues are easy and effortless, and the characterisations are top notch. There is a deliberate and definite streak of the uncouth which is upheld and even exalted.
Antony Varghese shows much potential, even though one is not able to quite place him; he is quiet, not menacing, well spoken but a thug. Amid the others, one cannot pick just one or two actors, but almost all of them are outstanding.
Prashant Pillai's unconventional beats work up just the right rhythm for the film.
The final 11-minutes of the film that brings to mind the genius of 'Victoria' (the German film taken in a single shot) is brilliance rarely seen in films and its execution will remain unparallelled for long in Malayalam cinema. However, there are junctures when it feels as though there's a bit of the Brazilian City of God hangover left in the film, or a Kammattipadam without its politics hiding in the layers. The film's tremendous technical efforts may have stood in the way of genuine emotions, for the people seem a bit too unfazed even in the face of adversity and at times the going gets tedious.
Amid all the efforts behind and in front of the camera that stand irrefutable, the only point to pick is that the 'real' was not as 'touching' as expected.