‘Alone’ movie review: Mohanlal’s solo act not enough to save this stretched-out thriller

Despite Mohanlal faring better than his other recent outings, ‘Alone’ is that latecomer to the party of pandemic films

January 26, 2023 04:43 pm | Updated 05:49 pm IST

Mohanlal in ‘Alone’

Mohanlal in ‘Alone’

You can be late to the party by an hour or two. There would still be a few sticking around, waiting to entertain you, or be entertained by you. But, what if you turn up a week, or even a day later? Alone is that latecomer to the party of pandemic films, whose times have long passed. Yet it makes a valiant effort to engage and entertain, using some familiar tropes. It is a territory Shaji Kailas has not tread much, for the film is set a world away from his usual loud, masala entertainers, although the script often looks at its sole protagonist as if he were a mass hero.

During the middle of the COVID-19 lockdown, motivational speaker Kalidasan (Mohanlal) moves into the thirteenth floor of an apartment in Kochi. Cooped up inside the apartment, with no neighbours to interact with, Kalidasan begins to hear the voices of a mother and daughter. While his friends, with whom he is always on the phone, dismiss this as his drunken ravings, he digs deeper to unearth the mystery behind the voices.

Director: Shaji Kailas
Cast: Mohanlal

The whole setting, of a single protagonist in a high rise building during the pandemic, is reminiscent of the Ranjith Sankar - Jayasurya collaboration Sunny. But while that film was about slowly revealing the character and the myriad issues that he has landed in, in Alone, we don’t learn much about the character, because the script is more concerned about the mystery of the voices. All that we know about Kalidasan from his phone conversations is that he is a motivational speaker who could reform even a criminal and that he has a habit of getting involved in others’ issues to help them. It is, of course, natural for someone like that to think of helping even unseen voices.

But Rajesh Jayaraman’s script, which aspires to be a thriller, has only the required elements to be an intriguing short film. This shortage of material appears glaring in its latter portions when the mystery is all but solved, but the thin narrative is laboriously stretched to fill the runtime. As if the makers felt that the mystery itself was underwhelming, they conjure up a bizarre theory in the climax to explain the protagonist’s behaviour; the movie would have been better off without that bit of information.

Compared to most of his recent forgettable outings, Mohanlal is in slightly better form in Alone, but that is still not enough to keep the audience engaged over two hours. The timing of the film as well as its run-time both work against it.

Alone is currently running in theatres

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