Swathanthryam Ardharathriyil: The Review

A semblance of truth and human interest are all it takes for a reader to suspend his disbelief and overlook the implausibility of the narrative, proposed Samuel Taylor Coleridge two centuries back. Tinu Pappachan has succeeded at that in his debut movie as a director, at least with me. I must admit that I was a more than a bit biased going in, considering the fact the cast and crew of Angamaly Diaries almost entirely made up the line up for this movie, replete with an extended cameo by Lijo Jose Pellissery. It is in fact a reunion for the Angamaly Diaries team, except for the notable addition of Vinayakan.

From The Great Escape to Shawshank Redemption to the namesake Prison Break series,  the genre has spawned gems on multiple occasions in the west but it’s a theme that has been rarely explored in Indian Cinema.Padmarajan’s Season, which was ahead of it’s times in many ways and far removed from his other works, is the only film from our part of the world that comes to mind, in this genre. Swathanthryam Ardharathriyil, if you ask me has more in common with Season than any other prison break themed classic out there. Personally I believe that the key to the success of any action thriller is in sustaining the mood and not so much in the number of action sequences and Tinu Pappachan has delivered in that department.He owes a lot here to Gireesh Gangadharan, who is the Haile Gebrselassie of the world of cinematopgraphy if i may, considering his penchant for long shots and to run with the camera following the actors in the most difficult of chase sequences. Editing by Shameer Muhammed has also played a huge role in keeping the proceedings on screen interesting for the viewer.Cinematography and editing are the actual heroes in the climactic showdown and that’s where and how the film picks up the tempo in the later half.Music by Jakes Bejoy is a major contributor too, throughout the movie.

Antony Varghese plays the lead again along with an ensemble cast and it’s still too early to judge this untrained actor, those who were eager to write him off as a one film wonder might have to rein in their thoughts for now.Vinayakan proves here again that he is here to stay and the audience loves him for that.Chemban Vinod is no different though  his role here has the shades of almost all the characters he has played to date but I don’t mind that at all, trust me.The film for most part, wisely refrains from dwelling for too long on moral justifications of the actions of the lead actors and strictly sticks to the task at hand, the prison break plan and its execution.This was a refreshing approach and maybe this is why the sequence where mob justice is delivered doesnt fit in and stands out like a sore thumb.Tinu Pappachan can sit back contended and deserves appreciation just for attempting such an unconventional yet ambitioius and risky debut in Malayalam cinema.

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