Sun. Apr 11th, 2021
Joji movie review: Macbeth in the time of masks

Joji (movie on Amazon Prime) Cast: Fahadh Faasil, Baburaj, Unnimaya Prasad, Joji Mundakayam, Sunny PN, Alister Alex Route: Dileesh Pothan Rating: * * * and one/two (3 and a half stars)

Just when you’d believe yet another fresh consider on William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” could not potentially be carried out, comes “Joji”. Fahadh Faasil’s new collaboration with director Dileesh Pothan retains the primary outline of human avarice and slant at violence, but sheds Shakespearean grandeur of the story in favour of restraint as it builds up the crime drama.

“Macbeth” and its innumerable retellings (which includes Vishal Bhardwaj’s magnificent “Maqbool”) have historically banked on a singular tragic flaw although spelling doom for the towering Shakespearean antihero — his ambition. Pothan’s movie underplays that bit, and offers the titular protagonist (played by Faasil) the persona of a weakling, ridden by inferiority complicated.

Faasil’s Joji is plainly the weakest in just about every way amid the 3 sons of a wealthy plantation proprietor, Kuttappan (Sunny PN). Screenwriter Syam Pushkaran draws up Joji, youngest of the brothers, as a loser. He is an engineering dropout and although he dreams of becoming a wealthy NRI he has no clue how to go about it. Twist in the story comes when Kuttappan, on returning property right after a stroke, plainly refuses to give Joji any inheritance whatsoever. Angered, Joji quietly improvements his father’s medicine, which prospects to the latter’s death. As the narrative moves ahead, a paranoid Joji sets on a frantic bid to cover his tracks, only complicating his problem even further.

Pothan and Pushkaran have experimented with intriguing departures from what defines the “Macbeth” storyline. Between the most pertinent re-jigs is Lady Macbeth, imagined right here as Bincy, played with cold precision by Unnimaya Prasad. Bincy, wife of the 2nd son Jaison (Joji Mundakayam), is an accomplice of brother-in-law Joji a lot more by probability than style and design. Her function is limited to taking part in along, due to the fact she sees probable subsequent benefit that she could draw out of Joji’s nefarious system of action.

Not like “Macbeth” and practically all of its interpretations, the Lady Macbeth track right here is limited to greed. There is no sexual or marital subtext of any consequence in Bincy’s equation with Joji. The strategy lets Pothan craft a narrative that stays singleminded in its target on Joji’s thoughts video games.

That kind of an method is also the purpose this movie has carried out away with the symbolism that renders “Macbeth” a great deal of its textual richness. Parallels to blood on the hands, supernatural apparitions, the 3 Witches, or the Birnham Wood coming to Dunsinane are both negligibly touched on or carried out away with, in sync with the frills-free of charge cinematic remedy of “Joji”.

The largest departure, of program, has to be Fahadh Faasil’s reorganised Macbeth. As the minimal-important Joji, he strikes an antithesis of the heartless killer the protagonist will inevitably flip out to be, executing the function with impeccable restraint.

Faasil will get ample assistance from the prop cast. Baburaj as the eldest of the brothers, Jomon, an alcoholic divorcee and single father, is aptly cast, as is Joji Mundakayam as Jaison, the mild-mannered 2nd brother.

“Joji” strikes subtly as it delivers influence, via Shyju Khalid’s impersonal cinematography that practically functions as a discreet onlooker in a home of disquiet, and via Justin Varghese’s soft background score that leaves a note of menace.

The movie was shot in the Covid era, and Pothan has crafted an exquisite “Macbeth” in the time of sporting masks. The characters of “Joji” put on their masks not just basically but metaphorically, also.

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