Penguin Movie Review

Penguin-movie- ReviewSource :

Time of India :

Critic’s Rating: 2.5/5

Penguin Movie Synopsis: A pregnant woman goes in search of her first child, who has been missing for six years.

Penguin Movie Review: In the opening scene of Penguin, a kid walks towards a statue in the woods even as his pet cautions him with his barks. As he nears the imposing statue, a person wearing a Charlie Chaplin mask steps from behind it, and in one swift move, slashes the kid. The murderer then picks up the body and walks into a lake, and for a few seconds all that we see is the striking visual of a yellow umbrella submerging into a grey lake. With this frightful stretch, director Eashvar Karthic sets the mood of his film quite effectively.

We are then introduced to Rhythm (Keerthy Suresh), a pregnant woman, still carrying the guilt of letting down her son, Ajay, who has been missing for six years. The incident has reshaped her life, destroying her marriage to Raghu (Linga), but also leading her to her present husband Gautham (Madhampatty Rangaraj). Everyone, including the police, believes the boy to be dead, but Rhythm will not hear anything of it. On a whim, and against the advice of her doctor, she goes to the lake where the boy went missing, and by a quirk of fate, she manages to find Ajay (Master Advaith) even while trying to avoid a masked killer. But where was the boy all these years, and who had kidnapped him?

Eashvar Karthic provides us the answers in this emotional thriller that might be underwhelming compared to recent serial killer thrillers like Ratsasan or Psycho, but isn’t a total letdown, especially for a first film. Part of its success is due to the convincing performance of Keerthy Suresh, which brings out the vulnerability and the strength in this character. When a character remarks at how she caught him off guard despite being pregnant, she retorts with a whistle-worthy line, “I’m pregnant not brain damaged”.

The first half is fairly engaging and some scenes are creepy enough to genuinely give us the chills. These mainly involve the boy Ajay, and Master Advaith captures the freaky aspect of this character pretty well, and keeps us guessing as to what this kid might do next. At times, the way he stares recalls Harvey Spencer Stephens’s portrayal of Damein in Omen. He also gets a terrific moment in the intermission point. But it is mainly Kharthik Phalani’s visuals and
Santhosh Narayanan’s score that set the eerie mood.

But the writing isn’t first-rate. Rather than create suspense in an organic manner, exploiting the oddity of the situation, the director resorts to providing cheap (cheat) thrills in the form of dream sequences and gratuitous violence that only makes us squirm. He also gives us one of the frustrating must-haves of the genre — of a character putting themselves in danger knowing fully well that they could wait and seek help.

And both the way the supporting cast is written and the performances are a letdown. At one point, Karthic tries to plant a seed of doubt in our minds about Rhythm’s husbands, but this line isn’t fleshed out well for us to make us look at these characters with suspicion. The actors playing these roles, too, disappoint — while Linga seems a bit over the top, Madhampatty Rangaraj struggles with even the basic expressions that we hardly see Gautham as a real threat.

The third act is a mess, as, in the name of twist, we get not one but two revelations (a crucial interrogation scene feels quite amateurish), with both providing not-so-satisfactory explanations for the events that we had witnessed. Equally clumsy is the effort to prop up motherhood in the end with awkward lines like “Amma oru attitude”. It only comes across as a bad T-shirt quote.

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