PENGUIN – REVIEW
CAST: Keerthy Suresh, Linga, Madhampatti Rangaraj
DIRECTION: Eashwar Karthik
RATING: ** Average
The movie begins in an intriguing manner where a kid walks towards a statue in the sylvan area despite the warnings of his pet dog’s continuous barks. In a fraction of a second, we see a person with a Charlie Chaplin mask appear with a weapon and slash the kid’s head. In a slow-mo, the killer then drags the body and walks into a lake and slowly sinks along with his bright yellow umbrella. The excitement ends with that scene, even as the story starts unfolding.
Set in the picturesque backdrop of Kodaikkanal, Rhythm (Keerthy Suresh) is expecting her second child through her second husband Gautham (Madhampatti Rangaraj). She is often haunted by her missing first son Ajay and is in search of him for the last six years. In an unexpected turn of events, she gets back Ajay (Master Advaith) with bloody marks all over his body.
The boy doesn’t speak a word and also behaves in a weird manner. Rhythm senses a masked person (the child’s kidnapper) following him. Now, Rhythm decides to unravel the mysterious kidnapper.
Keerthy Suresh who occupies the major portion of the screen space manages to bring out the suffering, fear and trauma, however after a point, it becomes repetitive. Linga and Madhampatti Rangaraj do not even make an attempt to have an impact although their roles are minuscule. The performances of Mathi who plays the doctor and Nithya Kripa as Keerthy’s friend are hyperbolic and annoying.
While the first half moves at a dead slow pace with a back and forth narration, there’s a consolation that comes up during the interval twist.
Even as we expect something suspenseful to happen in the latter half, it drags big time. For a crime thriller of this nature, the screenplay should be gripping, but sadly debut director Eashwar Karthik’s plot is so weak that he takes a long time to get to the point.
Logic goes for a toss in some places. Like in the scene towards the climax, when the kid who has been mute all the time suddenly calls his mom for help? The interrogation scene between Keerthy and Mathy is unwarranted. The final reveal is unconvincing.
While Santhosh Narayanan’s music is good in parts, Kharthik Phalani’s visuals elevate the haunting mood. Overall, the setting of Penguin is chilly and even beautiful, while the execution is anything but immersive. A missed opportunity for sure....