'C U Soon' review: Fahadh Faasil and Roshan Mathew engage viewers in a gripping web thriller
Shot during the lockdown the movie recently debuted on an OTT platform.
Many modern-day romances are played out in chat rooms in the virtual world, which is why the revolutionary romantic mystery thriller C U Soon from the stables of super talented Malayalam actor Fahadh Faasil (the movie is produced by him and wife Nazriya Nazim) catches your eye. Truth be told any Fahadh project has the same effect on us!
The story of a happy-go-lucky UAE-based bachelor Jimmy Kurian (Roshan Mathew) searching for love on a dating app will surely resonate with many youngsters right now. When the app matches him up with a girl nearby, Anumol Sebastian (Darshana Rajendran), he is all gung-ho. Jimmy is the kind of eligible young professional, armed with rakish good-looks as well, who seems to fall in and out of love quickly to his family's amusement. So when he gets serious about a girl who he has only seen on his mobile screen pretty quickly it comes as a bit of a shock to us, though not to them. She, on the other hand, seems a bit more reticent and this unlikely romance has you screaming in your head, that it seems to be a mismatch - he is more worldly-wise and she, well, a little too plain and angst-ridden on top of it all.
Right from the beginning, there's the hint of something sinister, playing out in the backdrop which soon engulfs their lives.
Enter Jimmy's tech savvy hacker expert cousin, Steve (Fahadh Faasil in an edgy role), a hardened pro who doesn't think twice before bitching about his boss during a joint con call or conveniently tapping into her skills when the need strikes.
C U Soon plays out initially in a series of flirtatious messages typed out by the lead protagonists and for much of the 99-minute long duration of the movie the viewers along with the characters are peering at each other through a virtual window - WhatsApp chats, zoom meetings and video calls. How much of what you view through your phone screen is real and how deep do your delve into someone's digital footprints to get to the root of their identity all play out even as the more horrific topic of human trafficking of innocent young girls into the Middle East slowly grips the plot.
With a few tightly edited shots, each character comes alive and writer and director Mahesh Narayanan skillfully utilises close-ups and webcam shots to showcase the sense of urgency in the latter half of the movie. Filmed during the Covid-19 lockdown, reportedly on a mobile phone (though the makers have not confirmed it) in Kochi, India (with the Dubai footage supplied by the film's second unit), C U Soon is truly an ode to the brilliance of a group of highly skilled talented artistes and technicians from the Malayalam film industry. Strong storytelling coupled with experimental computer screen shots ensures the movie moves at a pace that will keep you hooked right from the first message typed out on the mobile phone.
With his flirtatious curls and roguish smile, Roshan Mathew is the suave playboy ever willing to fall in love with the next pretty face to cross his path. At the same time he is intense as the 'jilted lover', in the latter half of the movie, though you are a bit hard-pressed to understand how he could fall so totally in 'love' with this gauche girl. Darshana who plays Anumol superbly mirrors the fragile emotions of a girl caught up in the wrong track and desperately seeking to find her way home in scenes that primarily focus on her facial expressions alone. As the hard-nosed, highly-strung techie who doesn't suffer fools easily, Fahadh who makes his presence felt in the movie solely through the prism of a web cam, once again proves he's a class apart.
Malayalam cinema has been regularly casting out gems like these which straddle entertainment and social messaging in the most subtle and yet in-your-face manner (Kappela is another recent example) that once again you are left in awe of the experimental storytelling technique that relies on computer screens to present a thrilling plot line. A definite must-watch. And hopefully one that will work as an eye-opener for many vulnerable women seeking their fortunes in a foreign land, armed with a heart full of hopes and a head filled with dreams.
C U Soon
Cast: Roshan Mathew, Fahadh Faasil, Darshana Rajendran, Maala Parvathy
Director: Mahesh Narayanan
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
C U Soon is currently streaming on Amazon Prime