Forensic, a close relative of Anjaam Pathiraa, bills itself a scientific thriller. Sam is an investigation officer working with cop Rithika (Mamta Mohandas) to solve a series of bizarre murders in Thiruvananthapuram. In an action thriller, you can see a warrior move towards an external goal. In a psychological thriller like Anjaam Pathiraa, Kunchacko Boban’s Anwar ideas concerning criminal action are visually represented through the serial murders.
Forensic (2020) Malayalam
|Director||Anas Khan, Akhil Paul|
|Stars||Tovino Thomas, Mamta Mohandas, Saiju Kurup|
|Genres||Crime, Mystery, Thriller|
|Initial release||28 February 2020|
In Forensic, it is much harder to see Sam pursue the killer because the more interesting ‘action’ often happens in his head. His solutions are scientific. They need to be explained to us before we are impressed. This decreases a lot of the film’s emotion to some punchlines.
The focus on forensics becomes minor payoffs. Sam uses his knowledge of the human body to administer a lie detector test to a heart patient cleverly. He assumes the killer’s height using just logic and some measurements from the crime view. He finds the killer by applying his knowledge of DNA chimerism. He even teaches an intern to rub off marker ink using coffee (it works due to acid-base interaction, he explains). Tovino Thomas plays Sam as an everyday, regular guy. Without some simulation of manner, it isn’t easy to see the character having great ideas.
The film often surprises by preferring a forensic test above a police inquiry. Instead of interrogating a hundred people at a crime scene, Sam decides to test their DNA for a match. The complex process of collecting and testing is not depicted in a way that entertains. This is where the film often falters. There is drama in trying to guess the accused during a routine police investigation. There’s little drama in looking at Sam’s team routinely collect used paper cups of suspects to run forensic tests, the results of which are read out to us. The results are impressive, but how can you sustain stress when your big ideas are lexical, packed away in bits of dialogue.
The film takes up the idea of child serial killers and presents some real-life samples. Yes, the possibility does make the murders more interesting. Often, aided by Jakes Bejoy’s chilling soundtrack, the opportunity forms a profoundly evil mood. But, the writer-directors (Akhil Paul and Anas Khan) seem confused about where to go with it. Probably not wanting to take it too far, they abruptly drop it in a way that makes it feel like a gimmick.
Most of the twists in the movie are blows. When the viewer is presented with all the facts and nudged to interpret them one way, before being pointed in the other direction, this must be organic, and not feel like something tacked on for shock value. In Forensic, twists are just parts of intentionally hidden data to be announced later for a minor aha! It plays a simple peekaboo game with the viewer, tries too hard to compensate for the lack of sustained excitement, and often fails.