In recent times, there have been many films in this genre in South Indian
Cinema. Nibunan, Ratchasan, Grand Master and even the recently seen web series Asur all these come to mind. Psychotic serial killer. Mysterious murders. Cops on trail. Killer/killers high on technology. Confusing and complex motives and finally the End. Anjaam Pathiraa (The 5th midnight) is a Malayalam film that is another addition to this genre of films and a good one at that.
The story is set in the city of Kochi where the mysterious murders take place. Every night a murder takes place and the city cops in spite of their best efforts are just left to do post mortem of the bodies in the morning. There are some obvious clues and some hidden ones which the killer leaves that turn as just decoys to derail the investigation.
Whether all the 5 murders happen as per plan as the title suggests and whether the killer will stop at 5, are the knots that get untied at the end. For a change, the cops are joined by a professional criminologist who ends up cracking the case almost by himself. The twist in the tale comes towards the end and the definition of who the “villain” is, changes. The question “Does the end always justify the means?” remains!
Kunjacko Boban who plays the criminologist is the hero of the film. But there are no heroisms. In fact, there are just couple of scenes and dialogues that remind us that he is the main protagonist. He is supported by a stellar cast, the pick among which is Unnimaya Prasad who plays the head of the investigating team with elan. As the city DYSP, she shows the will and despair in right proportion as the situation demands. Sreenath Bhassi assists the cops with all the technology stuff and he plays the part to the T.
Director Midhun Manuel Thomas who has also written the script, keeps the pace just right for a film of this genre and rightly avoids the trappings of songs, dream sequences et al by sticking to the investigative narrative. He is ably supported by his technical crew with Shyju Khalid on the camera (The city of Kochi is panned very well by his camera) and Sushin Shyam with his background score.
It’s not that there are no holes in the script. But, as long as they are not so obvious while watching the film, we can live with them.
Anjaam Pathiraa is a competently made film that makes for a compelling watch.