Director Jijo doesn't take the safe route here by showing the adventurous life of fishermen, sailing through choppy waters and weathering it all in this life. Instead, he focuses on how equally tough the conditions are at sea as they are at land for these men, who have to fight for their daily meal.
Last Updated: 08.13 AM, Jul 01, 2022
Ambrose and six men set out to sea on a boat, hoping for their biggest catch and a change in fortunes. Each men have their own reasons to be in the boat. Eating away at Ambrose is the suicide of their mentor and former captain Stalin. Is one or more among them responsible, and if so how does it affect each other in the middle of the sea?
A scene in director Jijo Antony's Adithattu has fisherman Ambrose (Shine Tom Chacko) and Jaya Palan's elder character talking about death. The latter tells him a story about how in 1985, he faced certain death when a wave as high as the sky came crashing down on his boat. But it was their captain, Stalin, who steered the boat to safety and saved their lives. Stalin is not shown in this film but through such visual snippets from the fishermen's conversations, you get an idea of how vital he was to each of their lives. And hence, he also becomes the reason the seven fishermen find themselves in a boat in the middle of the sea in this raw thriller that is as much about the lives of the fishermen as it is about finding the person responsible for the death of Stalin.
Director Jijo doesn't take the safe route here by showing the adventurous life of fishermen, sailing through choppy waters and weathering them all in this life. Instead, he focuses on how equally tough the conditions are at sea as they are at land for these men, who have to fight for their daily meal - a point that Rayaan (Prashanth Alexander) keeps making, every time they decide to risk their lives in pursuit for anything else apart from fishing. Khais Millen's script also clearly paints the social conditions of these men and their family, despite not showing any of these onscreen - the rifts between their families, the constant struggle for money for the sake of a better life for their children and always hoping that their fortunes would change, even if by a tragedy. In fact, the makers dedicate an hour of the 93-minute movie to this and these make for the slow-burn portions of this raw thriller.
The crux of the movie is the tension that brews between Sunny Wayne's Marcose and others. Marcose is an easily excitable character and someone who can get unhinged in a moment's notice. Sunny delivers what is arguably his best performance till date with the character, showing his various sides and bringing the intensity to his most maniacal one. Shine complements him; it's hard to believe that it is Shine who brings the 'calm to the storm' in this film with his restrained performance. His sequence with Prashanth Alexander where the men, who don't meet eye to eye, finally make peace is again another highlight in the film that is elevated by great writing.
The thriller aspect of the movie, however, does get lost as a lot of key points in bringing together that angle is in Tamil. Though there are subtitles, it would have helped if those conversations are in Malayalam for the wider audience. Also, the film's dialogues are coarse, but given it's rated A, the audience shouldn't expect anything else. The film's length and setting does justice to the small idea that ties up the narrative.
Pappino's cinematography is another huge plus to the film. He takes the audience along the ride, swaying with the waves and dragging that net in with all the effort that makes savouring that next meal even more enjoyable. It's the action scenes in the latter half that amps up the pace. The claustrophobic atmosphere of the boat, engulfed in darkness, and the further imbalance of the deck, all of these add to that experience along with the non-intrusive background music.
At just around 90 minutes, Jijo Antony's Adithattu makes for a raw and realistic thriller that provides a new experience to the audience. Shine Tom Chacko and Sunny Wayne's performance are the highlights.