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Initial release: December 1, 2017 (India)
Director: Gautham Ramachandran
Music composed by: B. Ajaneesh Loknath
RICHIE SYNOPSIS: A journalist tries to find the real virtue of a man called Richie from people who had known him.
RICHIE REVIEW: ‘Who IS Richie?’ That’s the quest on which a journalist (Shraddha Srinath) embarks on, to find out the real virtue of the man who is different things to different people. Kaka Peter (Kumaravel) sees Richie (Nivin Pauly) as a hireling of gangster Isaac Annachi, (GK Reddy, whose snow-white fake beard makes him seem like Santa), at whose hands he almost met his death. But for Murugesh (Aadukalam Murugadoss), he is the friend who treated him with compassion. As for Richie’s father, Sagayam (Prakash Raj), a reverend, he is someone who is beyond redemption. And Raghu (Raj Bharath), who was once a friend, sees him as someone who dashes his plans.
A remake of the Kannada film Ulidavaru Kandanthe, Richie is built around characters who are victims of their circumstances. Richie is unable to overcome the fact that both his friend and father deserted him in his hour of need. Raghu is more concerned about his own safety and future, having run away from gang with a treasure — an invaluable statue. And that makes his mother, Radha (Thulasi), who pines for her long-lost son, a victim as well. Peter, on the other hand, has to face the reaction that comes him way following his action of ignoring Isaac Annachi. Meanwhile, Selvam (Natty) has come to the place to forget the ghost of his past, and his actions there are defined by his attraction to Peter’s sister Philomina (Lakshmi Priyaa).
Where Richie scores is in the new-age-y treatment of its premise. Gautham Ramachandran breaks up the film into various chapters through which we learn both about Richie and the events of the past. And in all these chapters, we get a sub-plot involving the treasure, which is a metaphor for the happiness that lies within each of these character’s grasp only to elude them in the end.
But the film doesn’t leave as much of an impact as it should. This is mainly because it doesn’t feel rooted in its milieu. It is overtly stylised to give it the feel of a neo-noir, but this approach ends up alienating us, to some extent. Both the dialogues, which have a lot more English than you would expect from a film set in a coastal village, and the costumes feel out of place; even Nivin’s strong Malayalam accent doesn’t gel. Thankfully, even when the arty approach threatens to distance the characters from audience, the fine cast also does its best to make us care about them. The cinematography by Pandi Kumar, which is all mood, and the flamboyant score by Ajaneesh Loknath, which, at times, drowns out the dialogues, keep us absorbed in this tale.