Review By : Movie Run Time : 2 hour 32 minutes Censor Rating : U

Production: OPM Cinemas Cast: Asif Ali, Kunchacko Boban, Madonna Sebastian, Parvathy, Rima Kallingal, Tovino Thomas Direction: Aashiq Abu Screenplay: Muhsin Parari, Sharafu, Suhas Music: Sushin Shyam Background score: Sushin Shyam Cinematography: Rajeev Ravi, Shyju Khalid

Director Aashiq Abu's Virus is a medical thriller that sprawls across faiths, relationships and binds them under the roof of a life-threatening catastrophe. The film tries to create a sense of immediacy from the title card itself, which is designed like a pounding piece of flesh in the midst of green hues and lifeline graphs. The process of creating a tone and tenor is evident in every scene of the film. 

The film opens with moments from the characters' own personal struggles. We have a young doctor Abid (played by Sreenath Bhasi) whose relationship with a woman turns sour. The film also throws light on the plight of a contractual labourer in a hospital whose dues are pending for months. The rush of a dingy hospital is portrayed and staged with so much detail, which makes the maddening atmosphere more immersive. Even the medical terms are seldom spoon-fed. Such is the filmmaker's conviction. The film revolves around the 2018 Nipah virus outbreak and how it's contained by a committed group of individuals, ranging from a state minister to an unorganized worker.

The first half has a fast-paced rhythm as we see the narrative where the characters slowly fight back from the life-threatening calamity. The film excels at creating a race against time type of situation through a lot of intertwined plotlines and emotional arcs that makes you empathize with the proceedings. Music director Sushin Shyam's stomach-churning background score subtly announces that there is still danger around the corner. The score substitutes as a devilish roar of that microscopic creature. The first half effectively demonizes the outbreak through an amalgamation of visual and aural storytelling.

But the biggest setback of Virus is that the second half is ridden with the introduction of more characters and plot points. The narrative becomes a procedural that demands undivided attention as seemingly throwaway lines can be a major plot point. The film ties a lot of loose ends in the second half, not by throwing some fleeting surprises, but through free-flowing, organic moments of clarity. Kudos to the filmmaker for treating such a sensitive issue without glamorizing the heroic nature of its characters. Every emotion is underplayed, but the impact isn't.

The ensemble cast's acting has uplifted the film consistently without being aided by tone-deaf score and editing in order to oversell the performances. Virus has excelled in mood creation. We witness the unpopulated aerial view of exteriors and on the other side, you see starkly lit, crowded interiors that carries a constant air of dread. The strong use of primary colours (red and green) don't merely exist as flashy visual touches, but it perfectly conveys the space of an infected ward. The segue and transition from one scene to another is flawlessly executed (the film is edited by Saiju Sreedharan).

With Virus, Aashiq Abu cements his top form as a filmmaker. Overall, Virus is a straightforward, detailed and uncompromising retelling of an unbelievable story of humanity.

Verdict: Virus is a well made, gripping film about survival. A must watch.


3.25 5 ( 3.25 / 5.0 )




Virus (aka) Virues

Virus (aka) Virues is a Malayalam movie. Asif Ali, Kunchacko Boban, Madonna Sebastian, Parvathy, Rima Kallingal, Tovino Thomas are part of the cast of Virus (aka) Virues. The movie is directed by Aashiq Abu. Music is by Sushin Shyam. Production by OPM Cinemas, cinematography by Rajeev Ravi, Shyju Khalid.