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Penguin Movie Review: Underwhelming Thriller

Penguin Movie Review: Underwhelming Thriller

Movie: Penguin
Rating: 2.5/5
Cast:
Keerthy Suresh, Linga, Madhampattty Rangaraj, Master Advaith, Navya Krupa, Umar, Thejank 
Cinematography: Kharthik Phalani
Music: Santosh Narayanan
Editor: Anil Krish
Producers: Kaarthikeyan Santhanam, Sudhan and Jayaram
Written and directed by: Eashvar Karthic
Release Date: 19 June 2020
OTT Platform: Amazon Prime

Keerthy Suresh’s “Penguin”, the Tamil-Telugu thriller, hit the streaming apps. The thriller has generated great buzz as it is Keerthy’s first film that skipped theatrical release and opted for direct digital release.

Let’s analyze. 

Story:
Set in a hill station in Kodaikanal, the film revolves around a mother and her missing child. Ritu aka Rhythm’s (Keerthy Suresh) toddler son was kidnapped by a psycho who wears a mask of Charlie Chaplin.

Ritu and her husband Raghu separate, and five years later she gets married again and is expecting her first child with her second husband.

Even after six years, she continues to search for her son and heads to the lake regularly where he had been missing.

One day, Ajay (Master Advaith) dramatically runs away from the kidnapper and finds his mom. Traumatized by the kidnap, the child doesn’t speak to anyone and the doctor David (Mathi) tells her to give him time to open up. But Keerthy finds that the kidnapper is coming to her house.

Who is the kidnapper and how does she nab him?

Artistes’ Performances:
‘Penguin’ is a one-woman’s show. Keerthy Suresh as a pregnant mother who has a gut feeling that her son is still alive has carried the film on her shoulders. Her performance is spotless though some of the scenes written for her are awkwardly far from realistic. Like always, she shines in emotional scenes.

Master Advaith as Ajay is a good find. The kid has given a good performance. The less said about the better for other actors, they couldn’t even get basic expressions right.

Technical Excellence:
The film has absolutely stunning visuals. Cinematographer Kharthik Phalani brings visually arresting visuals as well as creates an eerie mood when required.

The opening sequences are beautiful. Santosh Narayanan’s background score complements the mood. The editing is okay.

Highlights:
Keerthy Suresh
The first half
Visuals

Drawback:
The entire second half
Climax twist
The weak performance of other actors

Analysis
“Penguin”, first-time director Eashvar Karthic’s thriller, draws us into the story with intriguing setup. The writer-director begins the movie with the introduction of the kidnapper and the boy getting kidnapped.

The kidnap incident causing emotional distress on the mother and disturbing her marital life is established well. Unlike other similar thrillers, the director also cleverly brings the child back into the storytelling.

It is not about finding the ‘Gone Boy’ but about knowing the kidnapper. He has set up the premise much like a serial-killer thriller movie but the only thing it isn’t about serial killing. It completely focuses on the kidnapper and keeps us intrigued. 

The first half of the drama is smooth and engaging enough. But when it comes to the key reveal and the twist in the second half, the picture becomes clearer that this story is so shallow and clichéd. The buildup has been wasted. The two twists lack believability.

The final portion is shot in a way that it makes us log off from the streaming. All the beginning thrills are nothing but a cheat. An interrogation scene in the second half is enough to say how amateurishly the final sequences are handled. 

Besides the boring proceedings in the second half, the performances of the key actors are another issue. Even those who have played important roles are amateurish. And Keerthy’s first husband's story doesn’t gel at all in the movie after a while.

Forced twists and the weak screenplay in the second half have marred the mood. “Penguin” finally ends up as a routine thriller that doesn’t add anything new and makes us feel cheated. The so-called emotional thriller lacks dhum.

Bottom-line: Loses Steam Midway! 

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