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Kooman movie review: Asif Ali's thriller is a fine addition to Jeethu Joseph's 'criminal trounces cop' universe

It takes a director of Jeethu Joseph's craftsmanship to keep the audience riveted to the screen with such effectiveness through a story that keeps us guessing and a character who is more grey than white

3.5/5rating
Kooman movie review: Asif Ali's thriller is a fine addition to Jeethu Joseph's 'criminal trounces cop' universe

Asif Ali in a still from Kooman

  • Sanjith Sidhardhan

Last Updated: 04.08 PM, Nov 04, 2022

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Story: Guru Shankar is probably the smartest cop in his police station, but his rank as a constable and his physical attributes are looked down with contempt by those in his village. This also fuels his ego, so much that he carries the grudge and often misused his power to get back. After the newly-joined circle inspector embarrasses him in front of the whole village, Giri decides to teach him a lesson. But this also leads him on a path that he cannot control. Giri's newfound thrill also uncovers a series of heinous crimes that were hitherto overlooked.

Review: A closer look at Jeethu Joseph's thrillers would easily reveal why they work so well. It's because of how fleshed out his protagonists are; be it Georgekutty in the Drishyam films or Sam Alex in Memories, their internal conflicts and personalities lend so much to the plot and how it evolves that the audience is hooked to the proceedings primarily because of the characters. With Kooman, he does exactly the same. In Asif Ali's Giri, a brilliant police constable who has serious ego issues because people don't give him the due respect he believes he commands, Jeethu and scriptwriter KR Krishnakumar creates a character that many can immediately connect with. 

Giri isn't the usual morally upright cop, in fact he isn't afraid to bend the rules and teach the people who insult him a lesson - be it his schoolmate or even his superior. This also takes him on a path that has him towing the wrong side of law. The first half of the film is filled with intensely gripping moments that work because Jeethu has already got the audience connect with Giri, hook, line and sinker that more often than not, you would root for him, just like you did with Georgekutty in Drishyam. But then comes the surprise, or rather shock, when Giri gets a bit ahead of himself to stumble. It takes a director of Jeethu's craftsmanship to keep the audience riveted to the screen with such effectiveness through a story that keeps us guessing.

But right after the interval is when the movie focuses on another storyline, one that doesn't quite make use of Giri's build-up and uses it rather as a plot device to why he decides to investigate a case that he accidentally uncovers, alone. Kooman can be called a tale of two halves - one about a thief and another about a cop trying to prove himself. Amid this, whenever the second plotline seems to lose steam, Krishnakumar has cleverly weaved in elements from the thief's angle to keep this interesting. The second half's revelation is also chilling, considering its relevance and resemblance to the recent brutal murders in Kerala. 

Asif Ali in a still from Kooman
Asif Ali in a still from Kooman

Asif plays Giri to perfection, showing his internal conflicts, expressing his superior smirks and even pulling off a body language that transitions from insecure to confident to scared. The film is also a prime example of how he is a director's actor. The supporting cast of the film - Renji Panicker, Baburaj, Jaffer Idukki, Hannah Reji Koshy, Baiju Santosh and Deepak Parambol - also play their roles well to move the story along and keep the audience invested in what they are up to. 

Kooman's music by Vishnu Syam is another highlight in keeping the film gripping. Satheesh Kurup's frames - especially during the night sequences of interactions between Jaffer and Asif's characters as well as the chase scene on a paddy field - stand out. The climax action sequence, though unfitting to the film's overall mood, has some great work from the art department and helps create a ritualistic atmosphere.

Verdict: The plot of Asif Ali and Jeethu Joseph's Kooman make it a gripping thriller, so much that at one point you wonder what if its protagonist Giri went up against Drishyam's Georgekutty.

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