C U Soon Malayalam Movie Review
In Mahesh Narayanan's new film 'C U Soon', a man named Jimmy (Roshan Mathews) meets and falls in love with Anu (Darshana Rajendran) mainly through video conference calls and text messages. Their dating exercise turns into a serious relationship before Jimmy and his techie cousin Kevin (Fahad Faasil) discover mysterious things about Anu's identity. Is Anu the same person as who she tells them? Does she have an abusive parent or partner? These are the burning questions that we think about as she and the male characters get embroiled in a mystery.
Unfolding fully through mobile device and laptop screens, 'C U Soon' is an unprecedented format for Malayalam cinema. There has been much talk about the way this film was shot and edited during the COVID-19-induced lockdown period. The portions of the actors were shot separately, but it looks like a real-time conversational film is happening right in front of us.
The format found me fascinated and enamored, just like in the case of the Hollywood film 'Searching'. C U Soon and Searching are similar in that both movies use digital devices and perspectives to tell fairy complex and mysterious stories. But much like in that 2018 John Cho starrer, the technique is not above the story. The technique of the movies is not too different from the purely found footage films. It even reminded me of Alfred Hitchcock's classic, 'Rear Window'. But, as even the 'Master of Suspense' would confirm, the basics of filmmaking and storytelling always apply, and Narayanan's film excels in both departments.
So many things happen in this 90-minute-long movie that even blinking an eyelid would amount to perhaps missing a key plot point. The heart of the film is the relationships between the three principal characters. When Jimmy falls in love with Anu, he and his mother hire their family member Kevin to snoop on her. You get an idea about how misogynistic this Christian family is when Jimmy's mother Mary (Maala Parvathi) convinces Kevin to 'hack her privacy'. When Kevin declines initially, Mary says, "What privacy? Even Donald Trump won the elections here like that". The movie really makes us think about the safety and privacy of our data and people's identities on social media.
For those who are interested to watch 'C U Soon' purely as a thriller, I can assure that the output will not disappoint you. Yes, there are ends about the mystery that should have been better tied up. There are also moments where you feel more pieces of information are revealed on the screen than what we ideally want. But these are only minor quibbles for a thriller that holds our attention throughout while breaking new grounds for Malayalam cinema.
The acting is top-notch from all the actors, most notably Fahadh Faasil, Roshan Mathews and Darshana Rajendran. Fahadh is at the peak of his powers, and this is another testament of the actor's ability to communicate more with his body language and eyes than through dialogues. There is a quiet moment at the end of the film where we discover a new side to Kevin's personality that we have not seen before. I found it to be fascinating.
Mathews and Darshana too are perfectly capable actors. Darshana, especially, perhaps has the toughest role here because we spend the least time with her of the three characters. Yet, it is through her character that much of 'C U Soon' unfolds.