The initial shots of "Pettilambattra" are truly intriguing and interesting. The scene of chasing a vagabond woman and the way it has been conceived swiftly raise your hopes for a surprise from another debutant director, Syam Lenin. Going ahead, Syam proves that he's following the banal storyline of loitering youths, who occasionally go for odd jobs. The filmmaker, who has also penned the script, opts for a rustic milieu by subsiding the aggression on screen but keeping it in the expressions of the protagonists.
Set in North Paravur and nearby areas, "Pettilambattra" portrays the life of four bosom friends, who mainly do painting works for buildings. Kathappan, essayed by Samayanandan, is the deemed leader of the gang. Saamy (Rony Raj), Kidu (Levin Simon Joseph) and Pragini (Jensen Jose) usually join for boozing at Kathappan's house. Kidu, the toughest guy, creates problems due to his aggressive instincts.
Once Sugunan (Ullas Pandalam), a new resident of the village, advises them to hire an old pettilambatra (goods auto rickshaw) for selling fish. The gang starts the new business with the help of Raman (Indrans). A scuffle with a group of men changes their life all of a sudden.
Despite a lean script, it's the realistic performances of the actors that give "Pettilambattra" a new lease of life. Samayanandan is the best among them. The raw and weird demeanour of Kathappan in his unkempt appearance is amazingly convincing. His theatre experience elevates his performance to another level. Neha as Swayam Prabha plays the social activist but the characterisation is incomplete. She does not have much importance in the tale.
Sivan (Sivadas Marampally) appears as a fake and shirtless devotee all the time. The character has a tinge of flirting behaviour with the women in the village. The comic scenes handled by Ullas are misfired owing to dual meanings. The police officer, Ramesan (Irshad) is also portrayed as a womaniser along with some of the main characters. Greed for money creates room for a conflict but it's tedious and well short of making an impact.
However, Madhu Madassery's cinematography improvises the scenic beauty of the village. High on performances and low on content, "Pettilambattra" only creates a mixed feeling. The template is similar to the flicks that narrate the pulse and life of a local place. It's not worthy to watch the acts of unruly youths instead of enjoying a substantial plot.