Critic’s Rating : / 5
1744 White Alto Movie Review : A quirky cop caper
Review: “Why does Jesus need a new church now?” asks police officer Mahesh to his mother when she insists that he donate money to build a new church on the hills, and the mother replies, “Not for Jesus but for the poor priest”. Senna Hegde’s second outing set around a missing car is filled with such sarcastic thought-provoking queries that provide laugh-out-loud moments.
The movie, set in a fantasy ambiance that resembles western cowboy cinemas, is witty, quirky and political. There is an atheist who is saved accidentally by a fallen cross and a believer who is killed accidentally during a heist chase. Also, there are blanks in the forms of characters and moments left unfilled by the makers which makes the movie not a full-on entertainer. Nevertheless, the film is novel in its style, narration, settings and mood.
Cops Mahesh and team are in search of a missing white Alto that escaped from them after injuring a man and killing another. During the investigation, they also bump into Jayan and family who are returning from a pilgrimage and they discover that he has been smuggling a special brand of liquor. After the usual police enquiry, Vijayan is seen leaving in another white Alto car. These cars get exchanged accidentally outside a bar. Then begins the real cat and mouse chase between cops and thieves, which unlike the usual movies is at a different pace. The chief police officer, Mahesh who is stressed with the case is also facing familial tension due to conflicts between his wife and mother.
If it is necessary to compare a filmmaker’s maiden movie with his second, Senna Hegde does disappoint the audience as Thinkalazhcha Nishchayam was a movie par excellence. If not, 1744 White Alto is an interesting film with moments of laughter set in a satirical world by pseudo-fictional characters. At some point, the movie reminds of the 1966 movie The Good The Bad and The Ugly, especially with the music. However, he has maintained his trademark ‘Made in Kanhangad’ mode in this film as well by casting the supporting actors from the place and maintaining the dialect.
The cinematography, lighting, costumes, art and editing go well with the tone of the film but everything that has been tried to be expressed through the script by Senna and Sreeraj Raveendran isn’t conveyed skillfully. The actors have showcased their best. The movie forcefully breaks many stereotypical cinematic patterns – the scene where the police follow the thieves breaks all the rhythm. However, the film misses to see women characters beyond the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law conflicts, husband and wife conflicts and women struggling at male-dominated workplaces.
Who is that elderly woman who gets into the police van asking for a drop at her son’s place? If her getting down in front of a temple is a symbolic representation in any sense, then there is a forced religious message conveyed when connected with the end shot of the movie.
It is interesting to witness Malayalam cinema coming up with films with novel narratives, making styles and get up. The team deserves a kudos for such experiments in an industry that survives more with stars than actors.
1744 White Alto is a satire filled with dark comedy which could make you laugh and think, occasionally.
– Anjana George