Filmed and written entirely during the Coronavirus pandemic, the Malayalam film ‘C U Soon’ has been released directly on Amazon Prime. This film is about a man named Jimmy (played by Roshan Mathew) who matches Anumol Sebastian (Darshana Rajendran) in an online dating app. Following a shocking turn of events, Anumol, who has started living with Jimmy, leaves his apartment. She sends one last video message which allegedly sounds like a suicide note to him. This promising premise leads to Mahesh Narayanan’s skilled and frequently innovative thriller that unfolds solely on the screens of a desktop or mobile phone, with not even one remote sight of a visual past. In fact, it is ‘C U Soon‘, one of the most default texts we send that draw the curtains of the narrative.
While it has been cut from the same cloth as Aneesh Chaganty’s 2018 film ‘Searching‘, it is a better film because it has been etched out with more concentration towards the proceedings than the procedure. It focuses more on the human aspects which I will discuss. Brimming with a sense of craft and atmosphere, Mahesh Narayanan succeeds in pulling off a wholly immersive screen thriller. This film couldn’t have been timelier in its making and release: it’s a pandemic and we are sitting in our homes, spending most of our time on social media. Zoom Meetings, Facebook, YouTube have become as much a part of our lives as our family members.
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All the same C U Soon is a pandemic entertainer set in the pre-Corona world. Moreover, despite being shot completely in residence (it was shot in Fahadh Faasil’s flats), the narrative is set in Dubai and has people working in offices, video chatting while driving through the roads and a global racket (yes!). But it never for once feels like a visual gimmick. It is only fitting that the filmmaker uses a more mainstream route. For instance, when the characters text each other, a piece of situational and calming background music plays in the framework. Actually, this helps in creating a tight sense of atmosphere and once you start reading into the film (quite literally), you populate these screens yourself. At its core, it has been peppered by a very charming kind of a love story: the lead characters Jimmy and Anumol have bright chemistry. But you are equally invested into the palatable subplot of Jimmy’s cousin Kevin (Fahadh Faasil) – a gifted hacker whose temper issues are affecting his relationships.
The clarity of the acting in C U Soon helps in enhancing the understated richness of the film’s plot: Roshan Mathew’s affable guy-next-door act is frustrating at times, but Darshana Rajendran is quite a revelation as the pretty and embrace-worthy Anumol. Amalda Liz aces her role as the feisty partner of Kevin, even though her’s is a small (but relevant) role. However as expected, the finest performance has been delivered by Fahadh Faasil. It is his character as Jimmy’s cousin that makes you call C U Soon an intriguing piece of cinema. His crafty expressiveness and the way he creates a tonality just by moving his eyes in molecular symmetry alone make the film a grand delivery, apart from being a rock-solid thriller.
The best thing about the screenplay is that it never loses its purpose. Most Indian experimental films tend to lack storytelling for the completion of their ‘experiment’. This Malayalam thriller is that rare beast that takes exceptional care of the technique and graphical efficiency while never for once losing sight of the central mystery. Despite there being a very important theme at its core, it never lectures things. I was both moved and disturbed by the central theme. It is highly enjoyable and smart, yet it stops short of perfection because of the lack of nuance in the script. The plot is layered, but uneven as some of the twists don’t do justice to the intriguing characterization. A few stylistic choices don’t help because it’s simply irrelevant. Nevertheless, these are minor complaints in an otherwise effective mainstream sprint.
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Eventually, C U Soon ends on an optimistic note although it’s a disconcertingly gritty survival drama about the platform you know, you use, and could absurdly relate to.