K 13 Movie Review: Not Enough Meat to Hold Attention
K 13 may be very short by Tamil cinema standards at 102 minutes, but even then there is not enough meat to keep us absorbed.
A still from K 13.
Cast: Arulnithi, Shraddha Srinath, Yogi Babu
Director: Barath Neelakantan
Barath Neelakantan's debut feature, K 13, reminded me of Francois Ozon's Swimming Pool, where a middleaged woman retires to a quaintly picturesque French village to brush off her writer's block. And the film, taking place mostly in her publisher's villa, revolves around an exciting story of jealousy, longing and revenge -- also involving a much younger woman. K 13 is also set mostly inside a flat in a multi-storeyed complex and witnesses a mysterious drama of a young movie writer, who is also impeded by a block (much like in Swimming Pool).
But unlike the Ozon adventure with two fascinatingly lovely actresses, Charlotte Rampling and Ludivine Sagnier, Neelakantan's thriller is not there as far as performances or script go. A good actress like Shraddha Srinath has been wasted as Malarvizhi, an author whose last fiction, inspired by her friend's artificial insemination plan, gets her into trouble. Her friend leaves Malarvizhi, and it is in those depressive moments, she hits a bar one night, and picks up Arulnithi's Madhiyazhagan. They have several drinks together, and land up in her flat, K 13 – the number doubling up as the film's title.
When Madhiyazhagan wakes up, he finds himself tied to a chair, and Malarvizhi dead, having cut her wrist in what appears like a suicide.
K 13 may be very short by Tamil cinema standards at 102 minutes, but even then there is not enough meat to keep us absorbed, and the first half really sags. The needless detour with actor Yogi Babu, who lands up with a parcel for K 13, sticks like a sore thumb.
What is more, while Ozon neatly tied the lose ends at the climax, Neelakantan's work ends rather confusingly with a twist. It is not easy to master a technique like this, and Ozon came to this after many years of moviemaking. Neelakantan may have tried to be a little more ambitious than what he could have possibly handled.
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