‘The content of this movie is superior than it’s format’ – said Mahesh Narayanan, the director and visual cinematographer of the Malayalam thriller C U SOON.
Starring Fahadh, Roshan and Darshana
Director - Mahesh
Streaming on Prime Video
In most of the interviews the director and Fahadh said that they were confident that the first comment once they release the trailer is that – the movie looks like a copy of the Hollywood movie – “Searching”. But he also substantiates the fact that it is the screenplay structure and style of Searching, Unfriended series etc. that perfectly fits the bill for the story. The core idea of the plot was something that inspired them to select this screenplay structure rather than the regular multiple camera setup per say and thanks to the lockdown rules.
Fahadh even said that, every morning of the shoot he would ask Mahesh if he thinks they could have done a better movie of this idea if it was a regular outdoor shoot, and Mahesh would brush him away saying that, this is the only way the narrative can be made more gripping. You would concur with Mahesh 110% once you watch the movie.
The entire idea was experimental and was born out of a need to ensure that a second level of technicians in the film industry get some work to do and money to survive, and also to satisfy the creative hunger of the entire team. The genesis of this idea as explained by Mahesh in an interview with Vishal Menon of Film Companion is quite inspiring to say the least.
Coming to the movie, its run time is just 1hr 38min and saying anything more than the intrigue that the trailer has already created would be gross injustice to the efforts of the crew and probably spoil your film viewing experience.
But there are other aspects that I would like to talk about which felt something new and creatively liberating.
Firstly, the over dependency on a multiple camera setup to record the scenes and transform those visuals into an eye candy on the edit table is thrown to the bin. The film was shot partly on an iPhone and partly on professional cameras that consisted mostly of static shots with movement only when it was necessary. The movement was recorded only when the character holding the camera had to move due to the circumstances in the plot. It proved to me that beyond a point, the audience are not bothered on what kind of framing and shot selection is used if they are completely invested in the narrative and the emotional arcs of the characters.
Secondly, the visual cinematography aspect of the movie. The movie took 22 days to shoot and nearly 2.5 months to edit. Though creatively liberating, it is a tiring process. Sans the multiple camera setup and usage of camera gear like a crane or a dolly, the director had to resort to mouse cursor movements on the laptop screens and hand movements on a smart phone to emphasize a particular detail in replacement to the regular cut-away and zoom in shots.
Thirdly, the logistics of making a good movie. The team rented out 6 apartments in Fahadh’s building and shot the complete movie with minimum but essential cast & crew. The narrative plays out in multiple countries across a couple of locations and you would not feel its out of the place even in a single frame. Brilliant production design by Nazriya and the art team. All the actors were present on the set and acting out their parts even though there was no camera on them. It was to ensure that the co-actor gets the correct cues because while acting on a selfie cam. It’s really hard to not see each other emotions and then feed off from them like on a regular set, but they identified alternatives to make that work.
Darshana stands out with her acting chops. Fahadh and Roshan deliver the best as usual. The writing is intelligent and is on point from frame 1. The plot is gripping to keep you glued to your screens. It has its regular meet cute moment, setup, mid-point and a resolution. It also touches a very sensitive yet social topic that I will leave it for you guys to watch.
The only point that I was not so convinced about is that the character background of both the lead characters Jimmy and Kevin in act 1 are very strong but really didn’t understand whether it was for a misdirection or just conveying of the starting point of their transformation arc.
If it was for a misdirection, then I would say its half baked. But if it was a starting point of their transformation arc, then I would say it felt almost complete. It felt just short of one scene for each of those characters to make us feel that they have transformed.
Everything said and done. Do not miss this movie at any cost.