K13 movie review: Despite its stunning climax, Arulnithi's whodunit falters due to plot holes
K13 is a well made film which offers something different from the recent flood of inane commercial mass masala fare.
One of the up and coming actors in Tamil cinema, Arulnithi prefers scripts that are not your usual run of the mill fare. This decision has made his filmography interesting and daring, to a certain extent. Arulnithi has once again picked the mystery whodunit genre with his new film K13, a psychological thriller directed by debutant Bharat Neelakantan.
K13 is quite an edge-of-your- seat, with a crisp running time of 104 minutes and minimal dialogues. But somewhere in the middle, it sags. However, the dip is made up for in the last 15 minutes with a stunning climax reveal. The entire film takes place in a huge apartment complex which brings back memories of Rajkumar Rao’s Trapped, with hardly any outdoor shots. The title K13 is derived from the apartment number where the action takes place. The best part about the film is that the director keeps the viewer guessing till the end.
Mathiyalagan/Mathi (Arulnithi) is a frustrated assistant film director who is still looking for a big break. His first film has been shelved after ten days of shoot as the producer has run out of funds. Most producers do not like his approach to filmmaking as he refuses to make formulaic films. Malarvizhi (Shraddha Srinath) is a writer who likes solitude and loves to spend her time alone in her own world, thinking what her characters would do next. One day, she meets up with a totally inebriated Mathi in a pub and they strike a conversation.
The next morning, Mathi wakes up out of his drunken stupor, tied up with cello tapes in Malarvizhi’s apartment, shocked to find her dead. He tries to recollect what happened the previous night, as nosy neighbours knock on the door. Now, Mathi must find out the past of Malar and how he landed in her apartment and the clues to that are in her phone. But before that, he must cleanse the place of any evidence of his presence in the flat and also escape before the police arrives. Eventually, the mystery behind Malarvizhi's murder is narrated in a gripping flashback.
K13 looks like the director begun writing a script for a short film and stretched it a little to fit two actors. Arulnithi, as a man trapped in an apartment with a dead woman he does not know, is superb. His portrayal of the anxiety and fear that his character feels is convincing. Shraddha Srinath is fantastic in a difficult role of a writer obsessed with herself. Yogi Babu in a cameo as a courier boy breaks the mounting tension in the film. Sam CS’s background score is strictly okay.
Although a film with such a short running time should ideally be pacey, the narrative of K13 falters due to a few loopholes in the plot. The loopholes reflect in the ending too, which feels rushed and a bit confusing. On the whole, K13 is a well made film which offers something different from the recent flood of inane commercial mass masala fare.
Anil Kapoor's quiet charisma and innate appeal keep the film going even when its writing enters shallow waters.
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