The beginning of ‘8 Thottakkal’ sets the tone for the reminder of the film. A young boy named Sathya (Vetri) witnesses an obscene murder and the killer, finding an opportunity to get away, frames it such that Sathya gets arrested and is thrown into a juvenile prison. Mild and timid in character, Sathya is scared and gets into his shell without much hopes and dreams.
Fast forward a number of years and Sathya is now out of jail, and in a sense, has come around to own his fears and become the person that he dreaded of in his younger days: a police officer. An extremely good cop who is just satisfied with helping others, Sathya is nonetheless the timid old self. If wrongfully being thrown into jail in his younger years wasn’t traumatic enough, Sathya is to now undergo another distressing test. He loses his pistol that is loaded with 8 possibly fateful bullets, and what more, the gun lands in the hands of a thieving schmuck.
His superiors, Gunasekaran (Mime Gopi) & co are corrupt and care for nothing more than their own advancement. The fact that he is close to a journalist Meera (Aparna Balamurali) who is at odds with his boss forms more schisms that he could do without. And now, his job (and his peace of mind) is at stake with the loss of his gun. Could he retrieve it in time before blood is spilled and save his job? This forms the reminder of edge of the seat thriller.
Directed by debutante Sri Ganesh, a former assistant to Mysshkin, ‘8 Thottakkal’ real strength is the connectivity that exists between the characters and the incidents. There’s a natural (and uncomfortable) relationship that exist between the cops and the criminals, and this tension will keep you interested. Will Sathya, after undergoing such traumatic incidents, become a criminal himself? What about the backstories of the criminals, which sounds all too familiar to that of Sathya’s? These anticipations will keep your mind occupied as the film rolls along.
‘8 Thottakkal’ isn’t without its downsides though. The acting is hit or miss - Vetri could have elevated himself a bit, while MS Bhaskar as Krishnamoorthy does a splendid job. It is his career best. Debutant Aparna is impressive. Nasser floors you off with his natural act. Parts of the movie move along at a slow pace, which reflects in the final run time. The long drawn out monologue by Bhaskar with no solid interesting content in the pre-climax tests your patience, and Ganesh could have done away with it.
But these could easily be overlooked for the good qualities mentioned above.
Overall, ‘8 Thottakkal’ is a satisfying thriller that could have been trimmed a bit. Don’t let the talkative portions of the film discourage you from hitting the theaters though. Competent debutantes have a certain degree of rawness that the seasoned technician often lacks, and Sri Ganesh’s writing is filled with genuine amounts of emotion....