Saturday 25 June 2022

Joji [2021]

 Dileesh Pothan’s Joji was as much a macabre and darkly funny crime thriller, as it was a commentary on patriarchy and masculinity, the arrogance of power and affluence, and the lust for wealth and violence. Either way it was a wickedly delicious work set during the pandemic, and filled with acrid familial fault lines, feuds and outright dysfunctions bordering on the comically grotesque… unsurprisingly, the director cited Shakespeare’s Macbeth as an inspiration. Kuttapan, the muscular, disdainful and domineering patriarch of a closely-knit family – comprising of the physically imposing and short-tempered eldest son Jomon (Baburaj) who’s closest to his father; the whimpering middle son Jaison (Joji Mundakayam) who feels trapped under his father’s iron-grip; the youngest son Joji (Fahadh Faasil) who’s a college dropout and detests his father’s contemptuous attitude towards him; Jaison’s taciturn wife Bincy (Unnimaya Prasad) who inwardly riles at her position as a voiceless housewife; and Jomon’s teenage son – living amidst his lush and sprawling estate in Kerala. Hence, when he suffers a near-fatal stroke, each of his sons react differently – Jomon is devastated and becomes increasingly erratic to the point of insulting the local clergy; Jaison hopes to finally have financial freedom; but it’s the seemingly meek and loafing Joji who decides to take matters into his own hands… and, as he does so, he displays a terrific capacity for smouldering fury, unpredictable ferocity, and calculated violence – with neither patricide nor fratricide being beyond his reach – and Bincy becomes an unlikely ally. Faasil, with his captivating turn as the sociopathic antagonist, led a cast full of compelling performances, in this spare, bleak and minimalist work punctuated with ironies, wry humour and a sparingly used moody score.

Director: Dileesh Pothan

Genre: Crime Drama/Family Drama

Language: Malayalam

Country: India

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