When a film invests heavily on the strength of the characterization of its central character the margin of error can be inconspicuous. The enigmatic hero who has obtrusive charm and a humane streak, "Charlie" tries to thrive on this age old formula. The task was cut out as far as the makers were concerned, as basically it was a case of putting all eggs in one basket.
Tessa (Parvathy) a quintessential rebel who refuses to be straitjacketed into societal notions of right and wrong embarks on a journey which lacks a specific purpose. It could be deemed as wander thirst or a yearning to find one's real moorings. The insatiable adventurism that is her hallmark takes her to strange territories and bizarre experiences. Tessa is smitten by the irresistible charm of the utterly mysterious Charlie (Dulquer Salman), who is like a lighthouse which is profusely effulgent. He is like a kite which dances to the tunes of the wind or a spring which appears like a bolt from the blue.
"Charlie" raises expectations with a buildup that promises a lot. It resorts to elaboration and it does perk up the proceedings at the outset. But beyond a point "Charlie" inadvertently falls into the trap of over indulgence. As the initial novelty wears off, it starts to stutter. After the breakneck acceleration the film fails to take off, but the inherent spirit in the narrative spruces it up and helps it from not becoming an insufferable experience. Charlie indeed is an interesting character and his expansive ways bordering on the eccentric bristled with possibilities. He is a bohemian in taste with artistic sensibilities. A Good Samaritan who wouldn't mind landing hefty punches on the anti-socials with the ease of a stroll in the park. With a, shoulder broad enough to assume the mantle of a protector Charlie has all the trappings of an invincible hero.
Kani (Aparna) is pivotal in the plot and Charlie's journeys are made fruitful by this doctor woman who appears like a tip of an iceberg that runs deep. Tessa and Kani hold contrasting influences on Charlie but he never loses his reins. There are a flurry of characters in the movie played by Nedumudi Venu, Tovino Thomas, Soubin Shaheer, P.Balachandran, Ramesh Pisharody, KPAC Lalitha etc. who do make their marks as you would expect. But no character leaves a particularly deep impression in the mind. Dulquer had to be inch perfect for Charlie to flourish. The talented actor with oodles of charm doesn't fluff but falls short of being exhilarating. Parvathy in a hazily written character shows glimpses of her remarkable talent, while Aparna looks a bit off color in her grim role.
The script by Unni.R and Martin Prakatt becomes a bit convoluted as it strives to push the envelope a tad too much. But the attempt to give freshness is unmistakably evident and "Charlie" has its moments thanks to its unpredictability which is its hallmark. Jomon.T.John's frames magic with his camera which hardly loses focus now a days. "Charlie" could be termed an audacious attempt but grandiose visions don't necessarily translate into well-crafted cinema. Pared down expectations could make it a reasonable weekend watch.
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