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Christopher: Mammootty, looking confused and dazed, can't save this giant swing at mediocrity

Mammootty's Christopher joins the canon of the most shallow heroes created by B. Unnikrishnan.

Christopher: Mammootty, looking confused and dazed, can't save this giant swing at mediocrity
Mammootty in Christopher.

Last Updated: 10.46 AM, Feb 11, 2023


Malayalam superstar Mammootty looks too tired in his latest movie Christopher. At first, it might seem like Mammootty's attempt at subtlety in essaying a gun-toting police officer Christopher, who is notorious for his take-no-prisoner approach when it comes to cases of sexual violence against women. But, after watching the movie, it's safe to assume that Mammootty knew that the film was trash and he had resigned himself to his fate. 

Christopher joins the canon of the most shallow heroes created by B. Unnikrishnan. The main drawback of the movie is that it doesn't understand the reasons for its existence. Why did Unnikrishnan want to make this movie? What drove him to not just direct but also produced it with one of the biggest Malayalam stars in the lead? Like his hero Christopher, Unnikrishnan and his writer Udaykrishna never tap into bigger existential and philosophical questions. Their grasp of the reality, the culture that enables violence against women, the extent of its prevalence and the idea of justice are all infantile. 

In other words, Christopher is not a movie for adults. It never discusses the issues with the seriousness and maturity that appeals to grown-ups. The very idea of a hero that this movie propagates is folly and lacks a strong foundation. 

The origin story of Christopher begins thus. During some riot in Kerala, a couple of young men use the situation to rape and kill young Christopher's sister. The criminals also kill his mother and father and set his house on fire. Christopher seeks to avenge his loved ones and chases the killers with a butcher's knife. However, he's stopped by an upright police officer, SP Vetrivel (a cameo role by R. Sarath Kumar). When Vetrivel learns what happened to Christopher's family, he shoots the killers in cold blood and full public view. At that moment, Christopher realises something that would define his whole life. If he stabs someone as a civilian, he will be punished by the law. But, if he shoots the same person with a government-approved gun, he will be a hero. He sees the khaki uniform as the licence to kill. So Christopher becomes a police officer. 

It's a potent backstory for a serial killer in the cop uniform. And it's not suited for a heroic cop movie. Christopher is not a hero. He's just a cop, who abuses the very law that he has sworn to protect to cater to his own twisted sense of morality.  

The main subject of this movie is rape and it's clueless about it. The sexual violence against women in this movie is simply used as an excuse for Christopher to bump off somebody in every third scene. The movie never gets curious about the social and cultural themes that make the streets so unsafe for women. It's an exploitation movie. But, it never owns its true nature. If Unnikrishnan had accepted that and remained honest about the kind of movie he wanted to make, Christopher might have been a lot better. Anything would have been better than a movie that confuses justice with killing and killer with a hero. The very philosophy of this movie is obscene. 


Even though the main theme of the movie is violence against women, it never makes an effort to tell the stories of the women subjected to such crimes. We never really get a sense of their lives, which would have helped us to care deeply for them. Women characters are simply presented as helpless and not-so-complex humans, who can't fend for themselves. They always need a heroic male cop who is willing to indulge in extrajudicial killings for them to get justice. 

The movie has wasted the talents of Sneha, Amala Paul and Aishwarya Lekshmi by turning them into cheerleaders for Christopher's muscular justice. Vinay Rai as the wealthy criminal mastermind is dead on arrival. He never really strikes the chord as a dangerous man with his push-ups and a giant tattoo on his back. The only character that makes an impression on our memory is George Kottrakkan, played by in-form Shine Tom Chacko. Shine is natural and fluid in essaying the role of a corrupt and sociopathic cop. And his performance shows that good actors could make even the trashy material work. However, the same cannot be said about Mammootty. 

Fresh off the laurels he earned for his performance in Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam, Mammootty looks lost and clueless in figuring out the motivations of his character Christopher. And that lack of spiritual connection with his character has greatly affected his performance in the movie. He tries to bring some dignity to his performance by not exaggerating the performance but the movie is beyond redemption. 

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