118 Review: An inconsistent thriller born out of an intriguing idea
Despite its novel concept, the film is bloated from packing in too many things
118 is an action-thriller that is built around an interesting premise -- an investigative journalist goes on a trail to find the truth behind his mystic dream. However, despite its novel concept and some impressive performances from the lead cast, the film is bloated from packing in too many things. Director KV Guhan has taken one too many cinematic liberties to get out of tricky screenplay situations.
The filmmaker does set up the drama interestingly, opening with a scene where Gautham (Kalyan Ram) unearths a major scam involving a corrupt minister, right before the elections. It happens to be a major breakthrough for his channel and the entire office gets into a celebratory mood at a resort in the outskirts of the city. As the story progresses, Gautham is haunted by a mysterious nightmare of a girl being stabbed to death and her car rolling into a river. Initially, he tries to forget it as a bad dream. But once it recurs months later in the same resort, he begins trying to interpret it. He realises that the story is connected to a river and he sets out to find crime references with the help of his colleague and girlfriend, Megha (Shalini Pandey). The story mostly focuses on this point and things get murkier when Gautham just about manages to escape from multiple murder attempts, and the line between reality and his imagination begins to blur.
Cast: Kalyan Ram, Nivetha Thomas, Shalini Pandey
Direction: KV Guhan
118 has all the ingredients for an edge-of-the-seat thriller, but the script, unfortunately, isn’t adequately developed and the narrative loosens its grip at regular intervals. This inconsistent storytelling, especially during the first hour, where nothing much happens, is difficult to endure. We never really get a sense of why Gautham doesn’t seek the help of cops, why he empathises with that mysterious girl and puts his life at risk to find out the actual story behind her death. The plot is fairly predictable, and though the second hour begins on a promising note with some interesting twists, the convoluted flashback portion is too far-fetched and drags the film down.
Kalyan Ram hogs all the screen space and dutifully goes through the paces. He gets some wonderful action sequences, which he executes well. Nivetha Thomas plays a mysterious woman who pops up now and then in a dream, seemingly to help Gautham knit together the clues behind the strange turn of events in his life. While Nivetha plays her part well, Shalini Pandey is left with an underwhelmingly-written part. Prabhas Sreenu, who plays Kalyan Ram's colleague, is saddled with cheesy one-liners that seldom work. The film also has a host of barely-etched characters played by actors like Shravan, Gagan Vihari, Nasser and Bharat Reddy, whom we only get to meet fleetingly.
Given the novel concept, 118 could have been so much more, but ultimately settles for little.