Alone Movie Review: Once upon a time, I would have been excited about the idea of seeing a film that focuses solely on Mohanlal. Once upon a time, that is. ‘Cos there was a time where I could confidently say Mohanlal was easily one of the greatest actors in world cinema. Not that he isn’t one now, but the National Award winning Malayalam superstar is in no mood to showcase any of the old dexterity in his recent movies, and Alone is simply yet another terrible example of how the star has fallen into a cesspool of mediocrity from which he refuses to step out. Drishyam 2 feels like an old memory now, doesn’t it? Monster Movie Review: Mohanlal’s Thriller on Disney+ Hotstar is Not Just Awful, It is Homophobic Too!
Alone is a ‘experimental’ thriller directed by Shaji Kailas, who once gave Mohanlal major blockbusters like Narasimham and Aaram Thamburan before their partnership went off the rails. When you mention Shaji Kailas and the word “experimental” in the same breath, it should have set off alarm bells for me. As if that wasn’t enough, the title credits mention ‘Confident Group,’ and the last time that brand was boldly splashed across a Mohanlal film was Confident Casanova. Old scars were reappearing…
If that wasn’t enough, Alone takes place during one of the most terrifying periods in human history: the COVID-19 pandemic and the government-imposed lockdown. Submerged in a sea of red flags, I braced myself for whatever Mr Kailas and dear Lalettan had in store for me, hoping against hope that I would be pleasantly surprised. Like the ending of Shaji Kailas’ previous film, Kaapa. Kaapa Movie Review: Prithviraj Sukumaran-Asif Ali’s Gangster Drama is Engaging in Parts When Not Obsessed With One-Man-Show Business!
Unfortunately, the jerky and jarring drone shots in the film’s opening scene didn’t inspire much hope, and from then on, I was looking for redemption in the film like a stranded traveller looking for an oasis in the scorching desert. With its premise, Alone promised me a big one. Kalidasan (Mohanlal) arrives in Kochi to stay at an apartment arranged by his girlfriend Yamuna (Manju Warrier). Since it is lockdown, he doesn’t meet anyone around, and most of his conversations with people are over the phone or through doors.
In the flat, Kalidasan begins to experience strange anomalies and hearing voices of two females. He begins to believe they are ghosts, though his girlfriend dismisses them as his hallucinations caused by the isolation and his love for the drink.
So are they really hallucinations, or has Kalidasan stumbled upon a tragic tale? Dare you to watch the film to figure out the answers!
Watch the Trailer of Alone:
In better hands, the supernatural element and Kalidasan’s attempt to uncover the truth behind this mystery could have made for an intriguing film. In better hands, Mohanlal might have delivered one of his finest performances in such a setting. Unfortunately, Alone lacks depth in both aspects of the film.
The mystery plotline is irksomely punctuated by Kailas’ attempts to bring the light side of his actor, and Mohanlal’s annoying habit of getting into philosophical platitudes. Also, I think it is high time that certain veteran filmmakers, and even some of the youngers ones, stop glamoring the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Aaraattu Movie Review: Mohanlal’s Latest ‘Entertainer’ Is an Terrible Cacophony of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Superstar’s Past Films.
Anyway, the erratic attention paid to the central mystery dilutes the intrigue level, and when it comes time to figure out whodunnit, I’m not sure I cared. This is a travesty, because Kalidasan solving the mystery within the confines of his room should have been nothing short of miraculous. The final twist, which is supposed to be the writers’ way of saying ‘Gotcha’ to the audience, felt more like it was mocking me for devoting two hours of my time to this film.
Yes, you read that correctly. Despite the fact that Alone has the material and acting talent to fill an hour, the filmmakers stuffed and stretched the film with uncomical interludes, crazy editing shots, and camerawork that felt like it was suffering from lockdown blues.
Popular actors like Manju Warrier, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Nandu, Siddique, Shankar Ramakrishnan, Suresh Krishna, Mallika Sukumaran, et al lend their voices to characters Kalidasan interact with indirectly. PS: Why does Kalidasan only interact with his girlfriend via videocall once? Shouldn’t that be his normal? Was Prithviraj practising for the role of Kotta Madhu by using the same Thiruvananthapuram slang as another gunda named Hari Bhai?
Sunny, a similar experimental solo-act drama about a man battling depression and loss during his quarantine, was released during the lockdown by actor Jayasurya and director Ranjith Shankar. It wasn’t a masterpiece, but what made it effective was the lead actor’s sublime performance.
This is why Mohanlal’s performance in Alone was so important, but it was also its weakest point. It hurts to write this, but as someone who grew up watching films like Kireedam, Sanmanassullavarkku Samadhanam, Kilukkam, Advaitam, and other such acting gems, I have to say that this is Mohanlal at his most artificial. On that note, I conclude my analysis and weep alone in my corner as a fanboy reminiscing about the good old days.
PS: O wait, what is with the makers of the actor’s most terrible recent films and their obsession in giving a dual personality to the hero? Loham, Aarattu, Laila O Laila, Monster and now Alone? Someone call Kang and end this Cinematic Universe please!
Alone is the kind of “experiment” that ought to have remained in the lab. The movie struggles mightily to justify its existence, from Mohanlal’s artificial performance to a weak mystery plot, while the final plot twist is just plain mind-numbing. The only one good thing about the film that it is not as awful as Monster. Alone is streaming now on Disney+ Hotstar.
(The above story first appeared on Sports Grind Entertainment on Mar 03, 2023 06:34 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website sportsgrindentertainment.com).