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Cast: Nivin Pauly, Shraddha Srinath, Natty, Prakash Raj, Lakshmi Priyaa
Director: Gautham Ramachandran

Neo-noir films are rarely welcomed by the audience in Tamil cinema and even when it happens, it’s after the film’s run in the theatres. Richie is the latest film to join that rare club. The remake of Ulidavaru Kandanthe, Richie also marks the straight debut of Nivin Pauly to Tamil cinema.

Richie sees the journey of a journalist (Shraddha Srinath), finding the man behind the myth in the name of working on a story. She meets a lot of people who give their varied opinions they have on this man and what they are and how those opinions were formed in the first place makes up the story of Richie.

What works for Richie, right from the word go is the sub-plots. While there are one too many, the way they converge together to form the bigger picture is fascinating and one cannot help but wonder how the same can look different to each person. Not just beauty looks like everything is in the eye of the beholder! The characters are one too many and while they all serve their purpose neatly, the long cast list results in many performers getting very little screentime. Nivin looks suave and carries the swag despite being portrayed as a local rowdy who studied in a jail. No wonder the scenes where he speaks flawless English look out of place, but considering the Malayalam accent in his Tamil, you would forgive him for the English! His shades are a plenty and that makes his character interesting on its own. So are the rest of the characters who’ve done a splendid job as far as performance is concerned. Shraddha has once again proven that she’s an actor and not a heroine with this film. Natty pulls off his natural best too.

The strength of Richie also lies in its technical aspects. Be it the camera shots, the lighting used or the background score, they set a unique tone for the film making it one of a kind. Not to mention the umpteen biblical references that are the icing on top of this film. In a particular scene, Richie (Nivin) stands behind a cross, making it look like he’s nailed to it. And just like Jesus, there are a bunch of people who’d do anything for Richie, there is a set of those who don’t like him and then there are those who betray. One of the lines I liked – Dhrogathoda vali ennanu theriyuma? Athu eppovume ethiri kittenthu varadhu – sums up the film.

On the downside, the pace of the film is slow at certain points and the lengthy dialogues don’t help exactly either. Thanks to the ensemble cast, there are just many things happening. The emotions take time to seep in and they rarely make an impression on us when something big happens. Hence, it’s hard to be hooked to the film. Only if the runtime was longer and the film crisper, Richie would’ve definitely a worthy dream debut for Nivin. Richie is definitely not a film that a regular movie-goer might enjoy and even if you aren’t one, the film will only amuse you and not excite you.

My rating: 2.5/5



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