Mammootty-starrer Christopher's script is pacy for most parts and has trademark Udaykrishna moments that play to the gallery. But in the second half, the team seems to have run out of ideas, with the storytelling having few high points
Story: Known for taking law into his own hands, especially to deliver speedy justice for crimes against women, police officer Christopher Antony faces suspension and enquiry for his latest action against a group of perpetrators. The investigation traces Christopher's past and how he became the man he is. But parallel to that, the lives of Christopher and those near to him get entangled with that of an influential drug lord, Sitaram Trimurthi, who seems to have the ‘vigilante cop’s number.
Review: Mammootty’s Christopher begins with a quick thank you note to Hollywood directors Antoine Fuqua and Richard Wenk, and the mind would immediately trace to their successful collaboration in The Equalizer franchise, where a vigilante takes the law into his own hands to deliver justice. Director B Unnikrishnan and Udaykrishna, however, does better with the concept by turning their protagonist into a cop, who wields the power but is shackled by the corrupt system.
Till it stays true to its tagline of a ‘Biography of a Vigilante Cop’, Christopher is actually a gripping watch – with some stylish frames, thumping music and a brilliant performance from Mammootty as the intense, brooding cop. The format of storytelling in the first half also keeps the premise interesting, with the makers shuttling between Christopher’s past and the ongoing investigation into his brand of justice. In fact, it’s easily among B Unnikrishnan’s best films and definitely paces ahead of Udaykrishna’s so-called ‘mass’ entertainers. Christopher’s dialogues are more B Unnikrishnan-esque than Udaykrishna, with some scenes being verbose. This is also why the two punchlines of the protagonist with the film’s antagonist, feel like it belongs to a Madhuraraja rather than a slick thriller.
The script is pacy for most parts, going through Christopher’s history in a breeze and having moments that play to the gallery too. But in the second half, the team does seem to have run out of ideas. As the focus shifts to just one case that has personal ramifications to Christopher, the narrative slackens. Even when those close to Christopher face danger, the emotions don’t truly sink in as their bond with the protagonist isn’t explored enough. Christopher trying to stay within the law due to a veiled promise in these sections and then immediately breaking it after a conversation with another police officer too didn’t seem too convincing. While vigilante justice is an ever-wishful concept, the movie doesn’t do too many favours to the police and its machinery, even in the end where it hints that Christopher’s rebelliousness sparks a change in the system.
Mammootty stands out as Christopher, acing the staple ‘heroic’ scenes without the whole shebang of a ‘mass’ entertainer. Credit to both the director and scriptwriter for conceiving the film this way. Mammootty’s sequences where his character expresses vulnerability were also supposed to be those that hooked the audience into the revenge plot, but that didn’t seem to work.
Amala Paul as IPS officer Sulekha, Aishwarya Lekshmi as activist-lawyer Amina, Sneha as home secretary Beena and Siddique as the chief minister – all have pivotal roles but don’t have enough to make an impact on screen. Vinay Rai, who makes his Malayalam debut, almost plays a repeat of his role from Etharkkum Thunindhavan. His face-to-face scenes with Christopher are a highlight in the film, which also has Shine Tom Chacko making the most of his role as a corrupt DySP. You, however, feel that the antagonist could have been shaped better, even if it’s just one, slightly elongated, episode from Christopher’s biography.
Justin Varghese’s music also elevates the viewing experience, especially in sequences shining the spotlight on Christopher. Cinematographer Faiz Siddiq’s visuals also make it look stylish and edgy. Manoj’s editing in the first half is top notch, but he leaves too much room in the second half.
Verdict: Mammootty’s Christopher starts off as an edgy, stylish film with great visuals and music, but in the second half, it loses its momentum. That said, the film might just have enough going for it to continue Mammootty’s streak at the box office.