Rorschach Movie Review Rating:
Star Cast: Mammootty, Grace Antony, Bindhu Panicker, Jagadish, Sanju Sivram, Kottayam Nazeer, Sharafudheen, Ira Noor, Asif Ali
Director: Nissam Basheer
What’s Good: It has the ability to suck you completely in within the first ten minutes but…
What’s Bad: …if it loses you in those ten minutes, you’re never going back to watch this
Loo Break: Only if there’s an interval in the theatre or you’ve paused while watching it at home (the second scenario is highly unlikely)
Watch or Not?: Only if you have got the patience to digest a slow-burner with a promise of an extremely satisfying climax!
Available on: Theatrical Release
Runtime: 150 Minutes
An extremely messed up Luke Antony (Mammootty) enters a dimly-lit Police Station of a small village to file a complaint about his missing wife, Sofiya, from an accident he just survived. He takes the policemen to the site where his car got crashed & days go by without finding anything. Luke promises to stay in the village until he’s not reunited with his wife.
During his stay in the village, Luke divides villagers’ opinions ranging from a caring husband’ to ‘a creepy murderer’ about his certain offbeat personality. He soon purchases a property in the village making himself mix in the crowd by being one of them. It’s not until the first half, you get to know what Luke’s real intentions are & he’s here for a cold-blooded yet smartly-executed revenge. What is that & how it’s planned? Trust me you’d want to be a first-hand witness to all of that!
Before delving deeper into the convoluted mind of the script, screenplay writer Sameer Abdul, let’s understand what Rorschach is. In layman’s language, Rorschach is a kind of psychological test, which can help doctors analyze your personality and it was once used to diagnose mental illnesses like schizophrenia. Basically, it’s one of those tests you might’ve seen on BuzzFeed which shows you different black, and white images & asks you to assume what it is. Based on your assumption, there’s a mathematical conclusion regarding how your brain works. It was first done in 1921 by Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach. This is just the base to understand how the messy mind of our protagonist works in this film.
Yep, as every slow-burner demands patience, even this one asks for your complete attention despite the core being as simple as a man seeking revenge and plans to demolish everything. The messy (in an intriguing way) screenplay holds your breath till the last while taking you through some unpredictable twists and turns. Kiran Das’ editing stitches the past & present so smoothly, you’ll feel it’s a single scene if not for different clothes, and locations. The transition during the ‘barn fire’ scene which goes from night to morning with the character sitting at the same place, is something the cinema geek in you will devour with immense joy.
Nimish Ravi’s cinematography compliments the dark undertones of the screenplay & keeps things as eerie as possible. A theory around the Rorschach test depicts how the ink blots made to analyze people’s personalities are deliberately kept messy, they’re a kind of structured disorder and that’s exactly how the camerawork of this film can rightly be described as – a ‘structured disorder’. In a particular scene chasing Mammootty’s Luke, the camera turns slow & shaky to deliberately mess with the viewer’s mind. Nimish also shoots some scenes with the spirit’s POV & it kinda teleports you into the story.
Mammootty, age: 71, swag: 100! With recent films like Unda, Peranbu, Bheeshma Parvam, and Puzhu & now this, the era of Mammukka we deserve is back! This is what people mean when they talk about the ‘second innings’ of veteran actors. Kamal Haasan with Vikram & Mammukka with films like the above is currently writing a case study for today’s actors. The fact that he accepts & acts his age on-screen, helps the director to give Luke a certain menacing charm which wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. Even the action scenes are designed in a way which graciously provides Mammootty with enough breathing space to make the scene look stylish & not fast-forwarded messy, funny trash.
Grace Antony stands out brilliantly opposite Mammukka making space of her own even in the scenes led by the veteran actor. But, it’s the role of Seetha played by Bindhu Panicker which will have you the most invested after the lead actor. Bindhu’s innocence helps her to balance the grey shades of her character with such ease. Jagadish, Sanju Sivram, Kottayam Nazeer, Sharafudheen, Ira Noor & Asif Ali lend decent support to the narrative.
Nissam Basheer directs the film in a way that the ‘revenge’ angle is never rubbed on your face as it never restricts itself to be of one particular genre. You never really are on anyone’s ‘side’ throughout the film because everything is grey. Despite Mammootty’s Luke being out for retribution for what happened to his family, the complex screenplay makes it difficult to hold his hand and cheer for him & that’s the beauty of the film’s ambiguous nature.
Midhun Mukundan’s music comprises mostly of gothic folk/rock feel & the English songs certainly add an international flavour to the treatment of the film. “My stories aren’t over, don’t go” gives you the ‘Red Right Hand’ vibes mainly because of the music. From the sound design inspired mainly by natural sounds to an electronic set-piece in disguise of rock delving into the screenplay, the background score of this film deserves more recognition than it ever would.
If you’re a human from 2050 tumbling into this review on searching ‘Best Psychological Thrillers Of Indian Cinema’, welcome to the past! Yes, we had the honour of watching this masterpiece in a cinema hall & hopefully Bollywood hasn’t tried to remake this in Hindi sucking the life out of it.
Rorschach releases on 07 October, 2022.
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Yet to watch Mani Ratnam’s latest magnum opus, read our Ponniyin Selvan 1 Movie Review here.
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