Cold Case Review: Prithviraj Sukumaran's thriller is cleverly packaged in guise of a routine murder mystery

Updated on Jun 30, 2021 05:28 PM IST  |  191.5K
Cold Case Review: Prithviraj Sukumaran's thriller is cleverly packaged in guise of a routine murder mystery.

Cold Case

Cold Case Director: Tanu Balak

Cold Case Cast: Prithviraj Sukumaran and Adithi Balan

Streaming Platform: Amazon Prime Video 

Cold Case Rating: 3 stars 

If there’s one thing that the pandemic has done for cinema, it most certainly is the democratisation of content from different regional languages. Malayalam cinema adds to the list of mainstream films picked up by major streaming platforms with Prithviraj Sukumaran’s crime thriller flick Cold Case that premiered on Amazon Prime a few hours ago. The film has been in the news for a long time for a variety of reasons, most importantly among them being the superstar actor’s return to playing an on screen cop (a niche that he has developed for himself with countless memorable roles in the past) and also the Malayalam debut of the Aruvi fame actress Adithi Balan among other things. Cold Case is a hybrid genre collage of a supernatural thriller cleverly packaged in the guise of a routine murder mystery

The film begins with a police team discovery of a long-lost human skull from a random water body with no marked features or belongings to suggest a possible name or whereabouts for the victim. The police investigation is headed by ACP Sathyajit (Prithviraj Sukumaran) who is entrusted with the task of unravelling the identity of the victim of the homicide. The narrative then takes us to Medha (Adithi Balan) a news channel reporter who is having a tough time with a recent divorce from a lousy marriage and ensuing custody battles for her daughter. 

The part of her story begins with them moving into a new home trying to start life afresh and away from her visibly sage like yet nagging mother in law. However, Medha starts to experience strange paranormal incidents in their new home and develops a sense of fear and decides to find out the reason for the uncommon occurrences that are linked to a dead person trying to communicate some secret hidden in the past.

Cold Case becomes engaging owing to its tight first act and much of the exposition and technical jargons of forensic investigation headed by Sathyajit starts blending in with Medha’s own personal quest for truth which is more supernatural in nature. The screenplay is structured in a way that the characters played by Prithviraj and Aditi meet only twice towards the end of the film and the narratives of their individual search is treated as stand alone threads that never overlaps each other till the last act of the film. 

Tanu Balak , the debutant director lends great mood to the parallel nature of the investigations and treats one half of the investigation like a well designed whodunnit murder mystery and adopts a more conventional horror movie aesthetic to show Medha’s search and this balance is maintained well till the climatic reveal.

The writing holds the major part of the movie together even though the dialogues sound a tad too stagey and flimsy at times. Prithviraj handles the role with much ease and never falters at the complexity of the narrative and is aided by Adithi Balan who makes a strong mark in her Malayalm debut with a one note character that rises above the limitations of stereotypes attached to the part. 

Cold Case is visually demarcated for the sake of the viewer with the police investigation being colour deprived and looks like a routine dark, brooding real time thriller while the supernatural narrative is treated with a little bit more edgy camera work. The background score lifts the film in many places and more than makes up for some underwritten plot twists and situations even though the score felt a little too loud at times with thumping effects. 

Cold Case is an old fashioned crime thriller that is designed to evoke the feel of a horror flick and murder mystery simultaneously which does offer a fairly neat premise with little fuzz and great precision in storytelling.

-- Review by Arjun Menon.

ALSO READ: Prithviraj Sukumaran looks back at the shooting days of Cold Case; Says it’s a gratifying feeling