What would play in the mind of a debut director when he attempts to resolve a murder mystery through his first film? Aren’t his prospects better if he co-authors the script? I am sure his mind would be a furnace, burning with all the twists and suspenses he can fit into his story to make it even more exciting. Jean Markose did that just right in the first half of his debut film Angels. But he failed to keep up the momentum and spoiled the thrill in the second half of what had the potential to become a dream debut.
Angels has a great build up. Unfortunately that is all it has. It has a cliched police officer hero Hameem Haider (Indrajith Sukumaran) who does not have much to do than look serious in every scene. He once nearly caught a serial killer, but during a chase in the rain, suffered multiple gunshots in his leg before falling unconscious. The investigation of that case was then handed over to another police officer (Baiju), but the case remained open even when Hameem returned to duty. Haritha Menon (Asha Sarath) hosts a live television show which presents unresolved police cases before an elite panel and encourages the authorities to reopen them. One fine day, a priest Varghese Punyalan (Joy Mathew) approaches her with his autobiographical work and asks her to release the book through her TV show. Though she initially thinks it was not a good idea, she changes her decision after going through the book. The book contains some startling revelations regarding the serial killer and Hameem is invited to the program for a live debate.
It is a lot like the Korean film Confession of Murder, but the pacy first half of Angels looks very promising. But in the second half, the film takes the regular route of most Malayalam murder mysteries before it throws at us an unrelated person who is responsible for the killings. He has a good reason for the killings, but that does not do any justice to the plot or its build up. The link that connects the three murders does not get a convincing explanation either. Instead, the screenwriters and the director resort to some sermons from The Bible to fill in the gaps. The film is irrelevantly stretched ‘even after it really ended’.
Indrajith delivers a decent performance in the very little that he was offered. Joy Mathew and Asha Sarath too did their parts pretty neatly. All the freshness the filmmakers had to offer was already presented in the first half, and unfortunately most of those elements were lifted shamelessly from the Korean film. To put an end to it, they just took an unrelated topic and tried to stitch it to the stories in the first half. Those stitches appear jutted out and artificial. Apparently, the real villain in the story was the story itself. The film will be best remembered for the debut of musicians Jakes Bejoy and Aravind Venugopal. Angels are supposed to be up there in the heaven, and surely this film is not made for the people on the earth, for they have seen this plot several times in the past. The film had an interesting build up to resolve three murders, but in that attempt the film itself committed suicide in the last half hour. My rating – 5/10.
Image: Theatrical poster.