Under World Review: a watchable gangster thriller

Under World Movie Review - Asif Ali, Farhaan Faasil

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Under World is that kind of a movie where you will see the potential for a better film throughout that film. The writer of the movie Shibin Francis has managed to create a world full of grey characters and you can’t deny the fact that most of those characters will be memorable for you even after watching the film. The predictability in the narrative and some of the over the top heroics of this movie are major negatives in my opinion, but still there is that honest effort to place a gangster saga in the landscape of Kerala which makes this movie an interesting watch.

Our main protagonist Stalin John runs an illegal business in a cinema theatre he took for lees. The business created enemies and eventually, Stalin had to go to jail. But in jail, he happened to meet a dreaded political mind who owned 500 crores of illegal money; Padmanabhan Nair. Nair was impressed by Stalin’s attitude and the movie is about what happened when these two decided to collaborate.

There are two tracks in this movie featuring Stalin and Padmanabhan Nair that makes the viewing experience pretty engaging. The swagger though is not really there to its full potential. You might tend to feel a bit disappointed seeing certain twists in the tale but hating it is an option that won’t happen. The character Solomon played by Lal Jr is so wacky in terms of style that he has saved his wife’s name as Harley Quinn in his mobile phone. And every character in this movie has such small quirks which makes them memorable. The character arc of each character is also visible in the movie. But the story part of things becomes slightly underwhelming and you won’t really feel an adrenalin rush while watching the film. 

Compared to a movie like Asuravithu, Asif Ali has improved a lot in terms of handling gangster characters and he shows some maturity in pulling off these kinds of characters. Arun Kumar Aravind helps Asif here by making the character more of an attitude hero rather than a physical macho guy. Farhaan Faasil ultimately works in the movie but in the initial sequences, he was finding it difficult to feel that free flow. The real pleasure in terms of casting is seeing an actor like Mukesh showing his subtle side of acting. Lal Jr’s Solomon is an interestingly written character. But when it comes to the eccentric tones of Solomon, Jr. becomes a mere shadow of his father. Muthumani, Meghanathan, Sreelakshmi, Sreekant Murali, etc. are there in smaller yet important roles.

The editor in Arun Kumar Aravind has done a fabulous job in Under World. Because it was actually the pacing and styling that helped the movie to have a fresh vibe even though the content is easily predictable. Within the 160 minutes of runtime, he managed to create a universe full of interesting characters. He uses even the minimal subplot to give the characters more shape. I felt that the entire bike chase action sequence was unnecessary. If Shibin Francis showed a little more interest in creating a better storyline like the way he created characters, Under World, would have been a much better film. Alex J Pulickal’s cinematography adds that grey feels to the content along with swagger. Sneha and Yakazan’s music also works in favor of the film.

Under World needed a lot of fine-tuning and polishing. But yet there is an engaging vibe to this movie mostly because of the way it created the characters. Under World is a watchable gangster thriller that you will definitely won’t hate.