Parole Review: Fills you with a sense of déjà vu
There is a constant sense of déjà vu at every turn and because we have seen variations of this story before in other films
Here's another Mammootty film that make you ask why an actor of his stature continues to pick such pointedly mediocre projects. Those expecting another 'classic' are advised to prepare themselves for another major disappointment. The only saving grace in this film is, well, the man himself. One has to applaud his remarkable ability to make everyone in the audience believe that he is in a serious film.
Cast: Mammootty, Iniya, Miya George, Suraj Venjaramoodu
Director: Sharrath Sandith
While Mammootty manages to (unsurprisingly) perform his part convincingly, everyone around him delivers page after page of painfully banal dialogue that belongs in a 1990s film -- or a bad stage drama. Consider the scene of the wife who gives a summary of all the disagreeable things her husband has been doing lately (which the audience has seen already), or, when a character points to a girl and says, "This is a girl." Well, duh!
There is a constant sense of déjà vu at every turn and that's because we have seen variations of this story before in other films. Take Mammootty's communist character from Stalin Sivadas and drop him inside a sad Oru Maravathoor Kanavu-style flashback and that's essentially what Parole is. And the presence of the communist iconography is -- just like in C.I.A, Sakhavu and Oru Mexican Aparatha before it -- another attention-grabbing marketing ploy.
This is about Alex, an ordinary man (and a strong communist) who is trying hard to not break under the weight of the overwhelmingly tragic situations thrown at him one after the other. But it's impossible to be moved by them because it looks like the director and script writer sat together and compiled a "greatest hits" of Malayalam movie tragedies, picked five out of them and crammed them into their film in hope of emotionally manipulating the audience.
By the time we get to the supposed-to-be pivotal moment, we've already stopped caring. The characters go around saying and doing some random stuff, none of which makes any sense (one character even points this out; but I'm certain he meant it in a different way). You ask, "Wait, didn't he say something else earlier? Now where did this come from?"
There is an amusing attempt to evoke Mammootty's Sethurama Iyer character by getting him involved in a missing son 'investigation' (at one point, two of his friends, just like Sethurama Iyer's assistants, bring him a list of all the phone calls made to someone's phone).
The women in the film haven't got much to do other than remain helpless (and hopeless), cry, and complain. They're either getting saved or destroyed by the men in their lives. In one particular scene, you expect a female character to respond strongly to a sexist creep, but when you have a megastar lurking around somewhere, ready to save her at any minute, why should she bother? This is a hero glorification film, make no mistake.
Parole suffers from severe bipolar disorder: it's an arthouse wannabe at one moment and a mass movie in another. These jarring shifts in tone get to you, and after a point, you no longer care what happens to any of these characters.