Malayalam Movie OUTSIDER - Review

Sameer Haq
Sreenivasan, Pasupathy, Indrajith

Director Premlal, who directed Athmakatha before, narrates an interesting theme of a stranger wreaking havoc in the life of a commoner in Outsider. But beyond this basic concept there is nothing much exciting about the whole film and it needs real patience to sit through this one.
In 'Outsider' the plot sadly falls short of the objectives of the film maker. Part drama and part thriller, the film is obviously much ambitious, and yet struggles to maintain its momentum as it struggles through unhurried movie moments.

Sivankutty (Sreenivasan) is a boat driver based at Thekkady who brings up his motherless daughter Manju (Ganga Babu) with utmost care. When he realizes that his daughter is in love with a local ruffian Mukundan (Indrajith), Sivan isn't pleased, but in the wake of a greater disaster about to ruin their lives forever, realizes that Mukundan is the only ray of hope around.

The crux of the film, that of an 'outsider' entering your life and demolishing it totally is more of an idea that one is probably familiar with the innumerable slasher films that one has seen in Hollywood. Here, the idea remains the same; it's a stranger Lawrence (Pasupathy) who wreaks havoc on a family, and who in no time brings the whole world crumbling to their feet.

The basic plot in 'Outsider' is too thin to be extended to a running time of almost two and a half hours, and it's here that the film has to depend entirely on its dialogues to make it work. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen too well in the film, and often the conversational pieces between the two leading characters turn out to be forgettable discourses with little magnetism in the words.

The purposeful slowness of the film isn't as endearing as it intends to be; like the sequence where you get to see the retired police officer Balagopal (Saikumar) meeting up with Sivan after several years. In the long, supposedly meaningful stretches of silence over a glass of drinks, Balagopal takes a while before he divulges what he is up to. the revelation is a shocker for sure, but it takes a while to get there.

Its almost the same when it comes to the interactions between Lawrence and Sivan too, and often the sluggishness of the events that unfurl gradually alienates the viewer. Perhaps the chief intention was to build up a solemn mysterious mood, and had it been followed up by something genuinely profound, perhaps the disappointment wouldn't have been this palpable. 

The psychotic man who runs about mumbling indecipherably has become more of a cliché these days, and Lawrence has been sketched mostly on predictable lines. And yet, when I tell you he is the best thing about 'Outsider' it might even sound a contradiction. 

The film undoubtedly belongs to Pasupathy, and it's a classic case of the Khalnayak towering over the protagonist. It should be remembered that despite Sivankutty being attributed none of the heroism that you would normally associate with a hero, he is granted that odd heroic moment or two, when he gets to discover the champion in him. And as Sivankutty Sreenivasan is strictly adequate.

'Outsider' makes you take a slow road to nowhere and offers a few genuine insights on the way. The seductive landscapes notwithstanding, the film remains an over drawn out piece that is dangerously predictable and generic.