M Padmakumar’s ‘Joseph’ would be remembered for long for the actor that Joju George is, and belongs to the category of films, where an actor towers over everything else around with an astounding performance that overwhelms.
M Padmakumar’s ‘Joseph’ would be remembered for long for the actor that Joju George is, and belongs to the category of films, where an actor towers over everything else around with an astounding performance that overwhelms. Tracing the contours of a man who has lost everything in life, ‘Joseph’ is a film that holds within a pertinent note that deserves an afterthought.
Joseph (Joju George) is a former police officer, whose expertise is very much sought after, even after his retirement from service. When his ex-wife Stella (Aathmiya), whom he still holds close to his heart, passes away in a hit and run case, Joseph is shattered. It does not however take long for the astute policeman in him to discover that not everything is as it seems, and that there is much more to the incident than what meets the eye.
Padmakumar sets the stage for what is to follow, by having a senior investigating officer invite Joseph over to take a look at the gruesome murder of an aged couple. A haggard looking Joseph arrives at the scene, sniffs around a little bit, and hands over the culprit to the officers without much ado.
‘Joseph’ has a leisurely start, in that a song follows the crime scene and the narrative adopts a non-linear pattern to delve into his past, dwelling a bit on an affair that he had before marriage, with Anna (Madhuri Braganza). His daughter Diana (Malavika Menon) makes an appearance as well, albeit for a brief while.
Around half way point, when Joseph makes the startling discovery that his former wife has been murdered, the film kick starts itself and zooms ahead. It maintains an air of suspense throughout, and doesn’t hold any irrational twists in store like several of those insta-thrillers that finally get to dump the crime on a passerby who never was on the scene.
The investigative thread apart, what I found delightful about ‘Joseph’ is the manner in which it has penned a very peculiar relationship that Joseph shares with Peter (Dileesh Pothen), Stella’s second husband. It is unlike any other human bond that we have witnessed, and is bound to move you on multiple levels.
Despite the edge of the seat mode that the film adopts, when it comes to the issue that the film so brazenly seems concerned about, it sways a bit and even borders on theatrical. See for instance, the lawyer (Nedumudi Venu) who argues Joseph’s case and walks out of the court, wiping his eyes. There is also the big question as to how much of the film’s claims are actually authentic and how much of if it based on hearsay or perhaps vague talk.
All said and done, we need to go back to Joju George and the astonishing actor that he establishes himself as, without any further doubt, through ‘Joseph’. There is an uncanny, lethargic air that characterises Joseph, which is etched to perfection by Joju, and this film should certainly render him a forerunner for the acting honours of the year.
And of course, there is Dileesh Pothen, who makes Peter as much an unforgettable character as Joseph himself, through a subtle, toned down performance that hits all the right notes. The supporting actors are all brilliant as well.
The shortcomings of the script are forgivable for once, when you have an actor who id determined that your eyes do not stray away from the screen, for a moment. ‘Joseph’ is a worthy experience that is elevated to lofty heights by the lead’s standout performance.
Verdict: Astounding Lead Performance in a Noteworthy Film