Kooman Malayalam Movie

Feature Film | 2022 | Thriller
Kooman makes a strong case for Jeethu Joseph's craft as a filmmaker. Good, solid acting, a terrific plot, and Jeethu Joseph's signature twists all add up to a compelling thriller.
Nov 11, 2022 By Sreejith Mullappilly

Where To Watch:
In Theaters: INDIA  

For the non-Malayali audience, the word "kooman" does not refer to a superhero but rather is Malayalam for the owl, a bird known for being active mostly at night. Jeethu Joseph's new thriller, Kooman, is a film about the shady things that some people do at night. But it has the atmosphere of a film about things that go bump in the night.

There is a thief stealing money from one home to the next in a village to get back at someone. Jeethu Joseph spends a lot of time here, as he does in most of his thrillers, explaining the protagonist's mode of operation and showing a tea shop where villagers spread rumours and where rivalries emerge between people. This storytelling approach works more than it would at a plot level in that it builds the world of the night owls in Kooman. Much of the film is shot at night, giving a dark dimension to the goings-on in the screenplay.

K. R. Krishna Kumar's script has a wonderful character of a thief, played by Jaffar Idukki, who has a small yet important role. Whenever we see Jaffar's thief character appear, he makes a profound remark that serves as an insight into how a thief's mind works and that influences some of the other characters in the film. The scene where he explains to someone why a thief steals money is a splendid scene, because it also helps us understand the psyche of the other person.

Kooman also discusses things relevant to Kerala's modern society. I do not want to discuss what those things are to ensure that there are no spoilers here.

People usually criticize Jeethu Joseph's films for being plot-heavy and light in filmmaking quality. Kooman makes a strong case for his craft as a filmmaker. It helps that he works with quality professionals like cinematographer Satheesh Kurup and music composer Vishnu Shyam. The camera work and music help create an eerie world full of mysterious beings.

A long chase at night becomes a focal point in Kooman because it further establishes character motives and leads to certain revelations that add up to a satisfying climax. It is exciting to watch the chase sequence unravel visually and mindset-wise. The pacing dips a little at some point, and there is a deliberate attempt to bring elements that work as counterbalances to certain plot points. There is also a plot element that does not have a proper conclusion here. However, a trademark Jeethu Joseph twist perks things up as we fear a small amount of tedium is starting to set in.

As for acting, there is not one bad performance in the film. Jaffar Idukki is a wonderful actor. Even in a cameo role, not many get to shine as much as Jaffar does here or in any other film. He has a rough voice that works well in pieces of narration involving slightly corrupt characters. Asif Ali has a complex role that requires him to go a bit against conventions, and the actor delivers as he summons up the right emotions where necessary. Further, Kooman is one of the rare films where Pauly Valsan plays a mother without having many nasty things to say, even as it discusses nasty stuff.

Sreejith Mullappilly