Swathanthryam Ardharathriyil is the latest addition to the short list of jailbreak films in Malayalam. Produced by BC Joshy and released by Unnikrishnan B, Swathanthryam... has almost every actor from last year's super hit Angamaly Diaries and has the director-writer combo of the film Lijo Jose Pellissery-Chemban Vinod as the co-producers. Tinu Pappachan, an associate director of Lijo marks his debut with Dileep Kurian's script.
As the title goes by, the plot of the film centres on 'Freedom at Midnight'. It tells the story of a group of cellmates who try to escape from the prison during the early hours of Independence Day. Jacob's (Antony Varghese) life is changed when an incident forces him to flee Kottayam with his love interest. Kerala Police succeeds in nabbing and locking him up at Kottayam sub jail. Jacob's ploy to break free from the jail along with cellmates forms the soul of the movie.
Even though the story becomes crystal clear in the beginning itself, the brilliant treatment and direction, mixed with seasoned performances in a well-written screenplay makes the film very engaging. It has humour and thrills implanted at the right places, giving the realistic jail scenario an interesting colour. The director deserves a pat on his shoulders for pulling off a strong debut, and he has been supported well by the writer in accomplishing this task.
Cinematography is one of the biggest positives of the film along with its background score. Girish Gangadharan is now one of the most hailed cinematographers in the industry, and Swathanthryam Ardharathriyil stamps his name in golden letters with many remarkable frames. The soundtrack by Deepak Alexander plays a very pivotal role in establishing the thrills of the film. It is a major reason behind the movie's success in inducing a fresh feel to the viewers.
When it comes to raw performances, Vinayakan stands tall in the industry that is filled with highly talented actors, and he is a treat to watch in the film. Antony Varghese has given a strong performance in his second film by successfully portraying the role of 'a man with a plan'. Chemban Vinod, Sinoj Varghese, Rajesh Sharma and Tito Wilson do justice to their roles by infusing them with souls.
There are two kinds of good movies, one that has an exceptionally good story, and the other that has an exceptionally good making. Swathanthryam Ardharathriyil falls into the latter genre with its applaudable treatment, which forces the viewer to turn a blind eye to any shortcomings, including the small loose ends.