The indie thriller’s plot goes haywire in the second half, but Sreeja Das and Lukman Avaran’s performances still make it an intriguing watch
A seemingly-normal resort nestled between the lush-green mountains, where people come to evade reality, and spend a few days in the middle of nowhere. What could possibly go wrong?
No Man’s Land, Jishnu Harindra Varma’s directorial debut, takes you on a rollercoaster ride to traverse through what seem like the seven deadly sins: lust, envy, anger, greed, gluttony, sloth, and pride. An experimental indie film that explores the deep realms of human emotions, the narrative treads into subjects that are more dark and sinister as the plot thickens.
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The scenes depicting substance abuse and blood-curdling violence further add to this ominous effect, aided by Joy Jinith’s background score and cinematographer Pavi K Pavan’s treatment of the visuals.
Sreeja Das plays the role of Sumitra, a sex worker, who is also a house help at the resort. Sumitra is despondent with how her life has turned out, and is consumed with regret as she struggles to make ends meet and lead a content life. She takes refuge in being intoxicated, and turns to alcohol and drugs to momentarily pry herself away from the gripping hands of her sorrowful reality.
Meanwhile, Mathayikutty, played by Lukman Avaran, is another house help at the same resort, who is often looked down upon for his mental health condition. Lukman continues his streak of doing justice to the characters he takes on; he had earlier garnered praise for his roles as Vinay Dasan in Operation Java and Dr. Sajith in Virus. The actor’s transformation from a innocent and naive-hearted helper descending into the avatar of a devil makes for nervy viewing, and he is the scene-stealer on many a occasion.
However, the film suffers from an all-too-predictable storyline; the appearance of Sudhy Kopa as a cop seeks to inject some interest to proceedings, but his character is rather constrained by the limitations of the script.
Ultimately, the Malayalam indie thriller misses the mark with the plot going haywire in the second half, but Sreeja and Lukman’s performances still make it an intriguing debut from filmmaker Jishnu.
No Man’s Land is currently streaming on Amazon Prime
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