CR No: 89 Malayalam Movie Review
The purposive deconstruction that Sudevan's 'CR No. 89' indulges in, tears down not just the cinematic sensibilities that we are used to, but also the aesthetics in our appreciation of films. Audacious and steaming with absolute genuineness, 'CR No. 89' is a booming proclamation of the sparkling spirit of a film maker who has crafted a cinematic piece of note on his own terms.
Two men on a mystifying mission find themselves in the middle of nowhere, when their jeep breaks down on a rugged road that runs through an almost deserted rubber estate, several kilometres away from the main highway. They manage to bring in a mechanic to do the repairs, but he refuses to lend a hand when he sniffs something fishy.
It doesn't really matter that the three main protagonists in 'CR No. 89' are nameless, since the issues that are dwelled on would matter neither less nor more with their being named. Here is a man who chooses to persevere on an ethical stand, irrespective of the perils that loom large over his head. His ordinariness makes him no less a super human, since the traits of valour that are quite apparent in him are certainly not ordinary.
Caught on a very valid juncture when one is asked to make a choice - between an easy way out of a muddle that is getting increasingly intricate by the minute and a resolute decision to stay back and fight with the little might that remains - the undemanding alternative is often sought. The queries on moral uprightness that the film raises are hence ones that are extremely noteworthy and which merit an exhaustive discussion.
The panache of this extremely talented director becomes evident when you realize the sense of actuality that is brought into the proceedings, without ever compromising on the interest element in it. 'CR NO. 89' is quite sure as to what it wants to convey across, and does not resort to those much criticized art house gimmicks to make it appear highly intellectual.
Instead, it draws us right into the middle of an ordinary event that could happen in your life any day, and in a confrontational tone demands that you do an introspection. As much as you might be away from a similar life scenario, the concerns that the film lays down before us are universal, and their implications widespread.
The very minimal budget on which this gem of a film has been shot is a revelation in that it plainly scoffs at the ridiculous amounts of money that are bountifully spent on scripts sans any rationale, and asserts that the soul of a film is what eventually matters. All the flourishes and opulence, the richness and display of affluence are purely secondary.
The lead performances in 'CR NO.89' are bound to leave you stunned and none of them, be it Ashok Kumar, Pradeep Kumar, Santhosh Babu or Achuthanandan appear like they are amateur performing artistes. Shaan Rahman, Prathap Joseph and Saadiq Thrithala who have deftly handled the camera have brought about a minimalistic feel to the film that is apposite to the uptight tenor of the film.
The slow burning intensity of the narrative makes 'CR NO.89' an absorbing film that never even for a moment puts on show the limitations that must have been imposed on it on account of its nominal budget. Flaunting the most evasive of cinematic virtues - a preservation of creative distinctiveness - the expertly staged and paced 'CR No. 89' earns for itself a proud place in the archives of Malayalam cinema.