'Alone' movie review: A daring experiment that becomes a tiring experience

The pandemic and the subsequent lockdown continue to be a source of never-ending stories that range from romance to supernatural thrillers.

Published: 28th January 2023 08:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th January 2023 08:57 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

The pandemic and the subsequent lockdown continue to be a source of never-ending stories that range from romance to supernatural thrillers. It has also proven to be a fertile setting for novel experiments. Alone is one such attempt—a single-actor film set largely in one location. It’s in stark contrast to the Mohanlal-Shaji Kailas duo’s usual larger-than-life mass entertainers that celebrate the superstar, his mundu swag, and the iconic meesha piri. In Alone, not once does Mohanlal wear a mundu nor does he twirl his moustache, but that doesn’t mean this film is short of gimmicks. In fact, it has a lot...

The narrative begins with Mohanlal’s character Kalidasan reaching an apartment complex in Kochi during the lockdown. After encountering some strange incidents in his flat, he starts unraveling a lot of mysteries. But all of this is before the final twist, which has become a routine in most Mohanlal films of late. However, his uninspired performance worsens things. There is a shade of eccentricity to his character, and it should have been a cakewalk for someone who aced similar roles in films like Ayal Kadha Ezhuthukayanu (1998) and Thalavattom (1986), but all we get to see is a pale shadow of his old self. At times, his mannerisms reminded me of the dismal Alexander the Great (2010), which arguably had one of his weakest performances to date.

Alone also has voice-acting by popular actors like Prithviraj Sukumaran, Manju Warrier, Annie, Rachana Narayanankutty, and Nandu among others. Among them, Prithviraj’s Hari Bhai is the best-written character and it is enhanced by the actor’s delightful rendering of the Thironthoram slang, which sounds way better than what he did recently in Kaapa. In an ordinary film without any such experiments, the Kalidasan-Hari Bhai portions would have been thoroughly enjoyable.

Alone is somewhat similar to Jayasurya’s 2021 film Sunny in terms of how they both are single-actor films set during the pandemic. However, what distinguishes Sunny from Alone is the former’s superior technical quality. The film is ruined with tacky visuals and shoddy VFX, which is probably because the film was originally planned as a direct OTT release. The strange camera angles and sound design intended to invoke jump scares and a sense of spookiness hardly create any impact. Rajesh Jayaraman’s script has a supernatural angle to it, but it seems like the makers tried too hard to make it look like one.

Right from the intro sequence Shaji Kailas has employed all his trademark gimmicks—the zigzag camera movements, flashy cuts, and the unnecessarily deafening background score—resulting in a headache-inducing experience. In a couple of scenes in Alone, Mohanlal is seen wearing a T-shirt that screams the word ‘vintage’. But sadly, this film doesn’t even have a glimpse of the good old vintage Mohanlal or Shaji Kailas. To put it bluntly, it’s an experiment gone terribly wrong.

Film: Alone
Director: Shaji Kailas
Cast: Mohanlal, Prithviraj Sukumaran (voice), Manju Warrier (voice)
Rating: 1.5/5


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