Penguin Movie Review: This Keerthy Suresh thriller suffers from bad writing.Modified On: 19 June 2020 | Reviewed By: Saurabh S Nair
The film had the potential to the smart, imaginative thriller but couldn't overcome due to its weak writing.
Cast: Keerthy Suresh, Linga, Madhampatty Rangaraja, Master Advaith
Directed By: Eashvar Karthic
Penguin is a great example of a movie that looks interesting in the trailer but the actual movie is not. After Jyotika's Ponmagal Vandhal, Penguin is the second mainstream Tamil movie to hit on the OTT platform.
Penguin transforms a seven-month-pregnant Rhythm (played by Keerthy Suresh) into a fearless mother out to find her missing son, Ajay (Master Advaith). The Penguin setting is also a hill resort-like Ponmagal Vandhal this time Kodaikanal – where the mist and fog help to create a sense of eeriness, albeit with a few lovely visuals.
In the very first scene of Penguin, we get to see a mysterious assailant thrashing an innocent kid using an axe. Before we can feel the shock, we realize that its actually a dream Rhythm (Keerthy Suresh) is having. She is pregnant. She panics and calls her husband Gautham (Madhampatty Rangaraj) who is mostly busy with official meetings. The narrative shifts back in time, where we get to see Rhythm spending some beautiful time with her two-year-old kid Ajay. She is seen leading a happy life with Raghu (Linga), her first husband until a mysterious umbrella man shatters their dreams by abducting her son. The loss puts an end to their marriage as well. Six years later, those gory nightmares and unfulfilled love of a mother for her child, forces Rhythm to embark on a dangerous journey, with her trained dog, to find her lost son. Is she successfully in the mission, that's the remaining story of the movie with an awful climax.
Films like Mom, Matr, or even Pnmagal Vandhal celebrate motherhood. Penguin too follows their path. we are constantly reminded that a mother would go to any extent to save her child, no matter what. The confrontation between Keerthy who is seven months pregnant and the psychopath summa this up.
But with Rhythm (who to me resembled Frances McDormand in Joen and Ethan Coen's Fargo) scouting the Kodaikanal forests for the missing boy, the baby in her womb hardly an obstacle that does not stop her from climbing steep hills and trudging along hostile terrain, the town's police force seems so redundant! Even when facing some of the most dangerous situations that will send a chill down anybody's spine, Lady Marple fearlessly goes about her sleuthing. And all alone! Sorry, I do not think the Christie detective would have done any of these things which Rhythm does.
The first half holds your interest some jump cuts and intelligent camerawork will take your attention. but the problem arises as we near the pre-climax. The narrative falters when the director reveals to us the backstory of the murderer. It's silly and doesn't do justice to the struggles the characters in the film had gone through. Just when you expect an emotional punch in the gut, the director offers us something in contrast, which is definitely difficult to explain. Maybe the first half forced us to expect more.
The performance of Keerthy Suresh is what holds the entire film. She as the character of Rhythm has done justice to her role without showing her natural emotions in the scenes.. Though she looks young, Keerthy manages to convince us that she can portray the role of a mother with ease. The way she displays fear and anxiety on her face is quite believable and makes us empathize with the character.
The long-tracking shots and the tone used by the director of photography, Karthik Palani, is laudable and sets in a perfect feel for a crime thriller.
After Keerthy's Mahanati expectation from her was high but Penguin turned out to a mediocre thriller it would have been a decent watch if the writing was better.