Star Cast: Mammootty, Rony David Raj, Azeez Nedumangad, Shabareesh Varma, Kishore Kumar G, Vijayaraghavan
Director: Roby Varghese Raj
What’s Good: The look (& not the feel), the metal-esque BGM letting us forget Anirudh for once
What’s Bad: The cliched treatment of the script in the guise of being ‘authentic’
Loo Break: It’s close to 3 hours and isn’t as intriguing to make you hold your patience for so long
Watch or Not?: For Mammootty on OTT or if you’ve already watched Rajeev Ravi’s Kuttavum Shikshayum & H Vinoth’s Theeran Adhigaaram Ondrun
Available On: Disney+Hotstar
Runtime: 2 hours 42 minutes
Before getting into the main course, the makers start with an appetizer; just like a teaser to the film, we’re introduced to the relentless ASI George (Mammootty) and his team that contains Jayan (Rony David Raj), Jose (Azeez Nedumangad), Shafi (Shabareesh Varma) and a Sumo which is also labeled as a ‘policeman’ because it helps the team to do a multi-city tour as flights cannot be afforded by the government for Policemen below the DySP rank (as narrated by a policeman in the film).
Once we get to know how this squad works, George and his ‘brutal’ team get a case to investigate, which revolves around the death of a person of influence, Abdul Wahab (Manoj K. U.). Owing to public pressure, George is given ten days to find the culprits with minimal help from the government. How he executes this cat-and-mouse chase with restricted resources is what the film is all about.
Kannur Squad Movie Review: Script Analysis
The shades of “Police doesn’t get required help despite a lot of hierarchical pressure” in the narrative will remind you of Rajeev Ravi’s Kuttavum Shikshayum & H Vinoth’s Theeran Adhigaaram Ondrun. Still, it stands out (for good or bad) due to Mammootty’s aura. In fact, his 2019 film Unda was also in a similar zone.
It’s based on true events, and that proves to be the film’s biggest weakness because many films have shown these events already over a gazillion times. An influential person gets killed, an imperfect squad is appointed to investigate, and they investigate and hunt down the killers with little to no help in the end. It waters down the investigation to CID-level “confess upon getting slapped” kind of tropes, which evokes zero excitement.
The only thing that stitches this routine plot with some thrills is Mohammad Rahil’s cinematic cinematography. From the beautiful ariel shots to trying to maintain a suspenseful aesthetic throughout, Rahil manages to steer the ordinary script by Rony David Raj and Muhammed Shafi in the right direction. However, due to the long-a** route taken, thanks to Praveen Prabhakar’s lazy editing, things don’t manage to grab your attention for too long.
Kannur Squad Movie Review: Star Performance
Mammukka bowled me over last year with a mind-bending performance in Rorschach (which I recommended Ajay Devgn to watch in a conversation I had with him during Drishyam 2 & if he remakes that in Hindi, then kindly give me some credit). But here, Mammootty comes across as generic as a generic performance could be. There are some superb ‘fan service’ sequences written only to make his fans worship him, but those don’t elevate the script in any way.
Rony David Raj, as Jayan, does good as the officer living through the guilt of accepting a bribe for a heartbreaking reason, and he’s the only side character whose backstory is established correctly till the end. Azeez Nedumangad as Jose & Shabareesh Varma as Shafi get a couple of scenes for the viewers to connect with them for the people they are, which isn’t really enough to accomplish the task.
Kannur Squad Movie Review: Direction, Music
Roby Varghese Raj jumped from being a cinematographer to directing his debut movie with this, and that clearly states why this film looks good more than why it feels good. Roby relies too much on making the film look authentic only to sacrifice things like fast-paced, proper character development, and more.
The best piece to this messy puzzle is Kannur’s own blue-eyed boy Sushin Shyam (Keyboards, Backing Vocals) from the thrash metal band TDT (The Down Troddence). It’s a band known for mastering Metal, Rolling Stone India’s favorite & all of that is reflected in the pumped-up BGM of the film. Without going over the board, Sushin proves it doesn’t need to be always loud to express aggression.
Kannur Squad Movie Review: The Last Word
All said and done; this Mammootty-led cop film gets stuck in its method, getting hampered by a done-to-death narrative exceeding only technically, which might not be enough reason to spend close to three hours on something for many of us.
Two and a half stars!
Kannur Squad Trailer
Kannur Squad releases on 17th November, 2023.
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For more recommendations, read our 2018 Movie Review here.