The mood of the film is sombre and director Bandi Saroj Kumar sees to it that in colour, costume, sheen and pace ‘Porkkalam’ (U/A) does not deviate from the tone and tenor set in the opening sequence. Incidentally, a part of the climax forms the first scene, which then goes full circle into flashback mode.

Once the suspense is out you realise the relevance of the muted colour scheme and the darkness that pervades the entire film. Sepia is a saviour, because otherwise the scheme used is stark and lighting too subtle for comfortable viewing.

Karna (Kishore) loses his mother early in life and the shock makes a terrible impact. He is a recluse and doesn’t allow people to get too close to him. Sneha (Smitha), who is running away from a forced marriage to ruffian Dronam Raju (Sampath), manages to escape but the end is all blood and gore.

The story and characters aren’t exactly new – but the treatment is. And you have to give it to the producer and director -- the conviction with which they’ve eschewed item numbers, duets and other such appendages is laudable. All the same, the film seems to draw succour from ruthless violence and mayhem!

Initially Karna’s reactions are weird but when you understand the torment he undergoes battling an impairment without the world getting wind of it, you are amazed at his ingenuity and his other faculties that work overtime! While watching the film certain logical questions do arise – but you can’t ask them without unravelling the intriguing suspense element in store!

Earlier even as a hardcore villain, Kishore has stood out. So the scope-filled role in ‘Porkkalam’ is a cakewalk. And the actor makes quite an impression. Sathyan is much more than a comedian here. He makes optimum use of the opportunity Saroj Kumar provides, while Smitha, a new find, conveys emotions with ease. Sampath heads the bad men and has little to offer in a stereotypical role except that he sports an unnatural-looking wig! His uncle and mentor (Tinnu Anand), described as a transgender, Karna’s teacher Rajesh coming in now and then and indulging in puzzling closed-room conversations with him, Biju Menon and Lal, entering and exiting and Ponvannan, crippled by the warring faction … the purpose of including such capable actors is not clear. Waste of prodigious talent!

Sound mixing plays a crucial role and deserves mention, except that it grates on the ear at times.

The making is quite stylish and the narration different. But how long do you sit in the dark and watch silhouettes moving in night effect, with all possible variations of black thrown in for variety?