fbpx
Sunday, January 17, 2021

Review: C U Soon (Amazon Prime)

Shot entirely on an iPhone in 18 days during the lockdown, the film is a thriller that works up the tension quietly but surely in 98 minutes, writes VINAYAK CHAKRAVARTY

Reading Time: 3 minutes

C U Soon, the new-age Malayalam maverick is Mahesh Narayanan’s second feature film. Shot entirely on an iPhone in 18 days during the lockdown, the film is a thriller that works up the tension quietly but surely in 98 minutes. In generic terms, the film would remind you of the 2018 Hollywood hit, Searching, or the recent web series, The Gone Game. Narayanan’s film, however, operates with its own plot and original execution.

AT A GLANCE

  • Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Roshan Mathew, Darshana Rajendran, Saiju Kurup, Maala Parvathi
  • Directed by: Mahesh Narayanan
  • Rating: * * * and 1/2 (three and a half stars)
- Advertisement -

Call it the Lockdown Movie if you will, but a series of well-executed efforts — films as well as web series – have emerged in these past months that experiment and at the same time entertain. C U Soon has been shot within four walls with limited resources but plenty of creativity, and define what could be the new normal for cinematic entertainment for now.

Narayanan tells his story utilising screens. Faces in chat rooms as seen on laptop screens are the commonest frames used, besides WhatsApp chats and video clips. A lot of the action is depicted as if captured on webcam and cellphone camera. Portions of the narrative unfold using CCTV footage, and lockdown family unions across continents take place via con-call to push key plot points of the story. Characters talk into phone cameras a lot, when they are not on video calls.

READ ALSO: Review: Sadak 2 (Disney+ Hotstar)

The film opens with Jimmy (Roshan Mathew), an Indian professional in the Middle East, finding Anu (Darshana Rajendran) on a dating app. It doesn’t take long for Jimmy to fall in love with her and, though he is yet to meet her, he is soon introducing Anu to his mother via video con-call.

We get a fair idea early on that all is not right in Anu’s life. Things get twisted for Jimmy when she sends him a video suicide note. Soon afterwards, the police take him into custody. That’s where Jimmy’s cousin Kevin (Fahadh Faasil), a cybersecurity expert, must use his hacking skills to dig into data on Anu to unravel her truth.

For Narayanan, his technical team, and the cast, the big challenge must obviously have been to set up and sustain audience interest in a narrative that unfolds almost entirely through mid-shots and close-up frames of the protagonists. It helps in a way that, creatively speaking, the film is literally a one-man show. Director Narayan has scripted and written the screenplay for C U Soon, besides editing and cranking the camera. His multiple roles could perhaps be attributed to lockdown compulsions, but it does let the film have an overall congruence of syntax. For a film that might come across as a very different experience to many viewers owing to its format, that is surely an advantage.

Assured writing facilitates good storytelling, and it also helps the film’s protagonists come alive. For Roshan Mathew’s Jimmy and Darshana Rajendran’s Anu, individual character arcs are admirably developed despite the film’s constraint of time and space. Both actors are impressive in their roles.

The winning act, though, comes from Fahadh Faasil as Kevin. Over the years, Faasil, counted among Kerala’s most acclaimed actors, has proved his versatility with films such as Chaappa Kurishu, 22 Female Kottayam, Amen, North 24 Kaatham, Artist, and Kumbalangi Nights. Faasil’s challenge in C U Soon lay in defining the entire flow of drama and suspense, particularly in the second half, through sheer facial expressions and without too much of action or dialogues.

Good actors, when cast intelligently, thrive in well-penned scripts, and C U Soon offers that advantage to its cast. The film’s biggest triumph lies in the fact that even if you don’t follow the Malayalam language (I don’t) and watch what unfolds aided by subtitles, you tend to forget that fact after a while. That is a mark of creative success in cinema.

READ ALSO: Review: Ramsingh Charlie (SonyLIV)

- Advertisement -

Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Podcasts

Ep8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s life

0
To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

0
  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic...

Ep 6: The Indian LGBTQ+ community in 2020

0
  It’s been two years since the world’s largest democracy repealed the draconian Section 377 which used to allow discrimination against homosexual people. Only this...

Latest News

lilly singh

WATCH: Lilly Singh’s rivalry with her overachieving ‘cousin’, Kamala Harris

0
  "Growing up I always got compared to my Indian cousins," shares Lilly Singh, reminding us of those unforgettable sibling rivalries we've all experiences at...
Udaya wentworthville

Reopening after being a COVID exposure site

0
  "We did not have a clue, because the customer was asymtopmatic." Since the news of popular spots Saravanaa Bhavan and Udaya supermarket being COVID exposure...
meeting op nayyar (1)

Why OP Nayyar continues to be this fan’s favourite musician

0
  I am an ardent admirer of O P Nayyar’s music. Anyone who knows me well, knows of my love for Indian film music from...

5 powerful poems by the brilliant Javed Akhtar

0
  A celebrated lyricist and the recipient of the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award for his poetry, Javed Akhtar's name is synonymous with soul-wrenching, evocative writing.  His...
dog swami video

WATCH: Dog ‘blesses’ devotees outside temple in India

0
  In a now viral video, a dog stationed outside the Siddhivinayak Temple in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra was spotted shaking hands and 'blessing' devotees as they...