Forensic - A whodunit that faithfully obeys and breaks the conventions of a psycho thriller

Director - Akhil Paul, Anas Khan

Language - Malayalam

Actors - Tovino Thomas, Mamta Mohandas

Streaming on - Netflix

Psycho thriller whodunits have a set pattern in terms of story structure and screen writing. Fade In - The movie opens with a killing scene, the dead body gets thrown around in the deserted locations of the city, a stranger identifies and reports it to the police, cops arrive at the location, media blows up the issue as the talk of the town, the police start investigating, murder count keeps rising as the cops try solving, stakes raise as the protagonist's family gets involved, cops identify a similar modus operandi across all murders, they get closer to the killer but miss him, then comes a twist, the killer makes a mistake, he gets caught, the protagonist reveals how he deduced it with montage shots from his investigation that were concealed to the audience back then, the traumatic past that changed a human into a merciless murderer is revealed and finally - Fade out.

Forensic is a movie that obeys the entire above mentioned structure to the letter but surprisingly serves it with a twist that makes it stand out from the rest in the genre. For instance, the protagonist is neither a cop nor a detective, but a forensic expert. While most movies try to write a strong motive for the psycho's killings, Forensic starts with a statement - " Psycho killers don't have a motive for their crimes, crime itself is their motive". This disclaimer sets the expectations for a bumpy ride wherein you are not going to get a method to the killers madness.

Ritika, a mother of two young girls and an IPS (played by Mamta Mohandas) is appointed to solve the case of young girls getting murdered by a psycho killer. Samuel (played by Tovino Thomas) a forensic expert is tasked with the role of a medico advisor in helping Ritika solve the case. The two have a bitter past and the past acts as a major roadblock in Ritika heeding to the suggestions of Samuel. While the two are at loggerheads and take their own decisions in solving the case, the killer gets ahead. A series of scientific deductions and the help of a retired policeman are the major weapons used in unravelling the horrific killings and pinning down the murderer.

Just a change in profession of the lead investigator changes the methods of deduction and it is a pure treat to watch the way he arrives at logical conclusions through basic principles of chemistry and microscopic observation. You get to see the whites of sterile labs more than the browns of a police station as they try to nab the killer. The directors resort to a lot of long takes and moving shots instead of the regular cuts to keep us hooked and get the tension rising. Music by Jakes Bejoy is ominous and eerie enough to create a sense of terror and get the audience invested in the narrative.Tovino Thomas as the forensic expert delivers a strong performance and it was nice to watch Mamta Mohandas on the screen after long.

However, major disadvantages include Tovino shifting profession and making conclusions like a detective rather than arriving at them like a forensic expert. Though done occasionally, this inconsistency doesn't augur well with the character as some of the major breakthroughs occur when he acts as the former. The punishment to the killer is trivial and unjustified for his heinous actions as he deserved more pain. The second half has plot moments that dilute the brilliance till then and could've been well thought through.

Much said, if you are a lover of crime thrillers then don't miss this one. The twists at regular intervals could possibly be the sole reason I recommend you this movie. Period.

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