Angamaly Diaries (2017) Malayalam Movie Review by Veeyen


The Angamaly that filmmaker  Lijo Jose Pellissery and writer Vinod Jose scribble their diary notes on is a dusty, deafening town that smells of pork and sloshed human blood. The ceaseless squabbles for honour, money and might render it a land with almost dystopian proportions, where a terrifyingly realistic tale of subsistence unfurls.


Angamaly Diaries VeeyenThe Angamaly that filmmaker  Lijo Jose Pellissery and writer Vinod Jose scribble their diary notes on is a dusty, deafening town that smells of pork and sloshed human blood. The ceaseless squabbles for honour, money and might render it a land with almost dystopian proportions, where a terrifyingly realistic tale of subsistence unfurls.

The Palliyangadi team of Angamaly is headed by Vincent Pepe (Antony Varghese), a graduation dropout twenty something guy, who dreams of moving abroad with his girl friend, and settling down in Germany. Together with his team mates Bheeman (Vineeth Vishwam), Pork Varkey (Githin), Kanakuna Marty (Ananthu) and Parippu Marty (Sreekanth Dasan), Pepe gets embroiled in a crime atroce, and in no time finds himself in a quandary where the future looks uncertain and frightfully bleak.

There are ample surprises that Lijo has in store for us this time around, and the swift narrative is just one of them, adding it up with some brilliantly candid cinematography, some startlingly warm comedic timing and plenty of aesthetics. It’s interesting to note how law is juxtaposed against order in this seemingly anarchic land, where the strapping survivors have been through hell fire and back.

The fraught tension in ‘Angamaly Diaries’ resounds with the snorts and bleats that resonate after every butchery, where pig heads are mightily squashed and their copious flesh minced into chops. The gore smeared silt and slag that lie around gently dribble over to the lives of the slayers, bringing in an almost nihilistic air to the proceedings.

The subtle, meditative details and the sun scorched pressure that Vinod Jose so deftly builds up does not let ‘Angamaly Diaries’ deteriorate into mere cinematic fluff, and eventually the imminent breakdown of an acquisitive society becomes palpably evident. Punctuated by short, sudden bursts of violence, this is a grimy tale that is driven forward by sheer ruthlessness and greed.

The taboo free humour that Lijo so vehemently explores in the film, finds expression in a sparkling scene where death turns out to be irresistibly funny. While all the attempts at pushing in a casket into a chamber fail, (no) thanks to a slightly awkward reason called the rigor mortis, the Palliyangadi boys intervene with side-splitting consequences.

The fresh cast of actors that Lijo so daringly unleashes before us, is sans pretensions, and there is not one that you could pick out for being nonchalant. Antony Varghese is all too welcome an addition to the lead actors in the industry, and as the impulsive and reckless Pepe with the child like grin, he is startlingly good. There is also a soaring performance from Sarath Kumar who with his fierce grunts and grumbles etch the severely damaged Appani Ravi to perfection. And the rest of the cast, competently matches it up to them, frame to frame.

Girish Gangadharan adroitly captures the spirit of Angamaly and the narrative complexity that he brings in through his stellar cinematography is almost minimalistic. The incredibly talented Prashanth Pillai cooks up a blaringly screechy back ground score that for once is precisely apposite, and which has a petrifying likeness to the sharpening of a knife before slaughter.

Lijo Jose Pellissery’s ‘Angamaly Diaries’ is a searingly honest and brutally raw sprint through the boisterous streets of Angmaly. Hollering at the top of their voices, Lijo lets his blithe boys storm their way through the Angamaly alleyways, letting them along the way, learn a lesson or two on life!


Verdict: Excellent


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