‘Corona Papers’ movie review: Priyadarshan’s latest tryst with the thriller genre is an average affair

Priyadarshan brings in a few cosmetic changes to the script, especially regarding the motivation for the killings, but mostly sticks to the original

April 06, 2023 05:19 pm | Updated 05:58 pm IST

First look of ‘Corona Papers’

First look of ‘Corona Papers’

A service revolver, which goes missing, is the beginning of everything in Priyadarshan’s Corona Papers. Initially, it would seem to be a minor hiccup in the early days of service for rookie cop Rahul (Shane Nigam). But, soon we realise that this revolver is the centrepiece of the script, being connected to almost every other significant occurrence, including a bank robbery and a few murders.

After the epic failure of Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham, Priyadarshan has chosen to do a straight thriller, sans any of the usual frills that one would associate with his movies. Just like many of his works in Hindi and Malayalam in recent years, the idea of Corona Papers too is borrowed from another film - the 2017 Tamil film 8 Thottakal, written and directed by Sri Ganesh, who has been given writing credits in this movie. The basic premise of the missing revolver in that movie was in turn borrowed from Akira Kurasowa’s Stray Dog.

Corona Papers (Malayalam)
Direction: Priyadarshan
Starring: Shane Nigam, Siddique, Sandhya Shetty, Shine Tom Chacko, Gayathrie Shankar, Jean Paul Lal, Hannah Reji Koshy
Runtime: 155 minutes
Storyline: A young cop’s revolver goes missing and causes a cascading effect leading to events that changes his life

Priyadarshan brings in a few cosmetic changes to the script, especially regarding the motivation for the killings, but mostly sticks to the original. Coming close on the heels of Christopher, which celebrated extra-judicial killings, it was quite a relief to watch a movie which takes at least a mildly negative stand on the same. But, some of these sequences are weakly written.

From his usual set of actors, only Siddique remains in the cast, and as the suspended police officer Sankararaman, he gets a pivotal role. Corona Papers banks on some of these characters, their backgrounds and motivations, to drive the plot along. For instance, Sankararaman wants to get back at the police officers who framed him as well as make some money to fund his wife’s treatment, while Tony (Jean Paul Lal), wants to make some quick money before he runs away with Rani (Hannah Reji Koshy), the wife of his gang leader Pappachan (Shine Tom Chacko). Meanwhile, Gracy (Sandhya Shetty), a senior police officer, has a lot of covering up to do.

Towards the end, there is a bit of philosophising too, with one of the characters, who has a few crimes behind him, talking about how people are forced to do certain acts by their circumstances. Although it does sound right, especially when delivered in an emotional voice with a background score, every crime would be forgivable, by that logic. That little speech also inspires a police officer to forgive someone who put him in a difficult position through their rather selfish actions.

There is not much of a reveal waiting for us at the climax, for the principal players involved are all revealed to us early on. The only anticipation is in how that web is untangled, which is pulled off decently well. Despite its glitches, including some horrible dubbing, Corona Papers remains an average thriller due to the strength of its script.

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