Gold Movie Review: Prithviraj, Nayanthara film is an original yet timid entry into the Alphonse Puthren Oeuvre

Gold starring Prithviraj Sukumaran and Nayanthara marks Alphonse's return as a director after a seven-year hiatus. The Malayalam film is a mixed bag.

Updated on Dec 01, 2022   |  04:08 PM IST  |  502K
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Gold Malayalam Movie Review

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Prithviraj Sukumaran's Gold Movie Review: 

How the whole thing starts: 

Gold, the new outing from the two film old prodigy director Alphonse Puthren has been in the talks for a long time due to a delay in the release. The film which marks Alphonse's return to directing after a seven-year hiatus is a mixed bag, that floats around groping for the authentic design of his earlier films. Gold is about a simpleton mobile shop owner Joshi, nicknamed Danger Joshi ( by the film's makers), an easy-going guy living with his home-bound mother, who spends her time, between cooking meals and feasting her son and visitors with great food.

The mother's character is stretched out to be nothing more than a caricature, as during the latter hour she genuinely feels bad for not treating a group of ruffians who were trying to encroach on their priced possession, a bolero pickup van that has crashed into their home by some weird event gone wrong. Joshi is at a relatively high point in his life when we meet him, on the verge of a marriage proposal and getting his new car to impress the bride's family.

Interesting ideas and breathtaking visual presentation...

However, the central thematic McGuffin, the random bolero van ( or rather the package within) parked at the front way of his home triggers intrigue as no one seems to know anything about it. Alphonse Puthren, like in his earlier films is masterful with his use of cinematic time and bypassing narrative fluidity with his idiosyncratic inserts and transition shots.

The filmmaking is exquisite at places, with definite callbacks to his earlier successful visual stylings. However, the writing is aimless by design and oftentimes seems to be choked and punctuated for his pulsating quirky sensibilities. Alphonse's acute judgement of cinematic pacing and innovative edit structure is awe-inspiring at a craft level but the plot progression is minimal and scathingly escapes any sort of narrative engagement.

The cast of actors and performances ...

Prithviraj is refreshingly cast as the combat-ready momma's boy, attempting to hack a plan to make the most of the chance that has presented itself before him and his otherwise eventless life. The actor lets go of his stiffer persona and forges some life to the one-note protagonist. The film works best with the scenes involving him and his illicit attempts at using the dire situation to his advantage. The decision to cast Nayanthara to play a seemingly naive, spoiled brat Sumangali seems like a stretch, as the star fails to get any substantial material, that neither warrants her stardom nor her acting chops.

As pointed out by Prithviraj in his older interviews, the film successfully integrates a cast of A-list actors for even the one-minute passing shots and the novelty of seeing all the faces enrich the frame in cutaways does invoke some life to the proceedings. Vinay Fort and Baburaj seem to get the funny one-liners and the interiority of Alphonse's signature characters.



The letdowns...

Many of the chunks pass off hurriedly with situational humour sprinkled in, that fall flat to register. Alphonse Puthren's comeback film closely resembles Neram in its time-bound narrative structure and thematic payoffs, like in the good-intentioned hero swallowed up by a ticking clock on the lookout for a price, a parallel track involving his impending marriage, the umpteen group of quirky players and henchmen that keep up the stakes, and functions like characters from a bygone Priyadarsan comedy.

The music and background score by Rajesh Murugesan Rejuvenates the narrative in places it hits a slump. Unlike Neram and Premam, Alphonse downplays his use of the pulsating youth-centric score. None of the characters have the agency or authentic inner life of his earlier screenplays and just spend time sitting around plotting inconsequential schemes. I liked the way Prem Kumar steals the scene in a blink-and-miss extended cameo. However, the film takes a few ambitious swings with its pacing and scene order conventions with abruptly added layers of visual detail and charm, reminiscent of his one-of-a-kind visual style but the writing never packs the punch.


Gold is nonetheless an original piece of entertainment sans adherence to the generic sensibilities of the traditional time-bound thriller narratives. Whatever we feel about the one-of-a-kind, singular narrative styles, artistic beats and the hilariously superimposed subtitles that form a substantial part of his film grammar, there is never a day,  when an Alphonse Puthren film is uninteresting or flavourless.

Also Read| Gold: Nayanthara and Prithviraj Sukumaran starrer morning shows get cancelled in Tamil Nadu; Deets inside

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Dec 02, 2022
Hope the serial killer of CHUP reads this