Underworld Malayalam/under-world/11665/review/www.nowrunning.com/movie/23352/malayalam Movie ReviewFeature Film | Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller
Editor-turned-director Arunkumar Aravind's latest directorial venture is an action drama about four people with grey shades. In a non-linear manner, Arunkumar effortlessly establishes the premise of the characters before entwining them for a single purpose. His treatment is clearly crisp (including dialogues) and it is bereft of heavily done dramatic sequences or emotions. Still the template of 'Underworld' is not devoid of formulaic elements and situations.
At the outset, 'Underworld' mainly focuses on the life of Stalin John, played by Asif Ali, a wayward youth with a criminal background. Three other people enter his life gradually and it decides his fate. Albeit a theatre owner, Stalin converts it to a gambling hall as he finds screening of films is not profitable. He has problems with local politician Sadasivan (Arun) as Stalin runs the cinemas on the land leased out to him by Arun, who wants to evict him from there.
The petty cases against Stalin start to grow, and eventually one blast case against Stalin lands him in jail. There he meets Majeed Abdul Rahman (Farhaan Faasil) and politician Padmanabhan Nair, played by Mukesh, who is in jail in a money scam related case. Through Padmanabhan Nair, Stalin comes to know about Solomon (Lal Jr.) and then onwards the game of action changes.
As I mentioned, 'Underworld' has a familiar plot, which sparks waves of predictability in the second half, and patently, your musings about the fate of characters move in the right direction. Arunkumar once again proves his craft in the treatment utilizing the available scope in the screenplay, written by Shibin Francis. The pace the director establishes here gives an engaging feel sometimes even as 'Underworld' misses the required punch for an action movie. The thriller factor eludes from the film, which has handy and striking frames lent by Alex. J. Pulickal.
Lal Jr., who is a director, makes his acting debut, and he, undoubtedly, pips other actors with a striking performance. The callous acts of Solomon are beautifully presented by him with confidence. Asif appears in the usual role of an aimless youth, who is living with his mother, played by Sreelakshmi. It's disappointing to see Samyuktha Menon in the miniscule role of a KSEB employee. The character of Farhaan fails to keep up the fire and energy in him after his association with Stalin. Mukesh is a surprising addition as one of the villains.
The vital punch is missing in the regular pattern of the tale to make the winner-loser game interesting. The director has tried to go the extra mile in the narration but the plot is not so compelling to leave an impact on you. Lal Jr.'s performance is the highlight in 'Underworld', and apart from that, the film hardly leaves anything to cherish at all.