'Parole' movie review: Fills you with a sense of deja vu

While Mammootty manages to perform his part convincingly (this is Mammootty after all), everyone around him delivers page after page of painfully banal dialogue that belongs in a 1990s film.

Published: 06th April 2018 10:22 PM  |   Last Updated: 07th April 2018 06:20 AM   |  A+A-

Miya George and Mammootty in 'Parole.'

Express News Service

Film:  Parole
Director: Sharrath Sandith 
Cast: Mammootty, Iniya, Miya George,  Suraj Venjaramoodu 
Rating: 2/5 stars

Here comes another Mammootty film that made one ask: "Why does an actor of his stature continue to sign these ridiculously mediocre projects?" Those expecting another 'classic' are advised to prepare themselves for another major disappointment. The only saving grace in this film is, well, the man himself. One has to applaud his remarkable ability to make everyone in the audience believe that he is in a serious film.

While Mammootty manages to perform his part convincingly (this is Mammootty after all), everyone around him delivers page after page of painfully banal dialogue that belongs in a 1990s film -- or a bad stage drama, if you will. Consider the scene of the wife who gives a summary of all the disagreeable things her husband has been doing lately (which the audience has seen already), or, when a character points to a girl and says, "This is a girl." Well, duh!  There is a constant sense of deja vu at every turn and that's because we have seen variations of this story before in other movies, two of which I'm going to mention.

Take Mammootty's Communist character from Stalin Sivadas and drop him inside a sad Oru Maravathoor Kanavu-style flashback and that's essentially what Parole is. And the presence of the Communist iconography is -- just like C.I.A, Sakhavu and Oru Mexican Aparatha before it -- another attention-grabbing marketing ploy.

This is about Alex, an ordinary man (and a strong Communist) who is trying hard to not break under the weight of the overwhelmingly tragic situations thrown at  him one after the other. But it's impossible to be moved by them because it looks like the director and script writer sat together and compiled a "greatest hits" of Malayalam movie tragedies, picked five out of them and crammed them into their film in hope of emotionally manipulating the audience. 

Once it gets to the supposed-to-be pivotal moment, one stopped caring. The characters go around saying and doing some random stuff, none of which makes any sense (one character even points this out; but I'm certain he meant it in a different way). You ask, "Wait, didn't he say something else earlier? Now where did this come from?"

There is an amusing attempt to evoke Mammootty's Sethurama Iyer character by getting him involved in a missing son 'investigation' (at one point, two of his friends, just like Sethurama Iyer's assistants, bring him a list of all the phone calls made to someone's phone).Speaking of the women, they haven't got much to do other than remain helpless (and hopeless), cry, and complain. They're either getting saved or destroyed by the men in their lives. In one particular scene, you expect a female character to respond strongly to a sexist creep, but when you have a megastar lurking around somewhere, ready to save her at any minute, then she needn't bother. This is a hero glorification film, make no mistake.

This film suffers from severe bipolar disorder: it's an arthouse wannabe at one moment and a mass movie in another. These jarring shifts in tone get to you after a point, and you no longer care what happens to any of these characters. One of  the mass moments has Alex rescuing a young male inmate from the grip of a predatory inmate. And I'm not even going into the logic of these fight scenes.


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