A newly minted cop, Arivazhagan (Dilipan), arrives at his assigned police station where he is assigned a mentor. The mentor, a writer at the station, hands the wet-behind-the-ears cop a bunch of dusty files to read, showing him how to fabricate evidence to solve cases, and how to creatively reduce their crime rate.
This is the opening scene of the film Writer, from debutant director Franklin Jacob.
The film attempts to realistically portray the difference between the life that a police academy prepares a cop for, and what awaits them on the outside.
Story Slowly Unfolds
The character of Thangaraj (Samuthirakani), the “writer,” has an interesting backdrop: he has his hands full with his everyday battles—one at home, having separated from his wife and living with another woman, and another at work, where he has been unsuccessfully trying to set up a union since 1979.
The drama in Writer unfolds slowly, drawing us into its realistic portrayal of the situations it deals with. The life of cops isn’t as nail-biting as it is shown to be in most thrillers. They operate in unflattering offices where one cannot help but notice the patched walls.
There is a courtroom scene that has none of the dramatic speeches by eloquent lawyers shown in mainstream movies. Instead, there are awkward pauses during the arguments, and even an anti-climactic no show. Everyday life in Writer is how the real world is.
The cops in Writer don’t carry a weapon (most filmmakers conveniently ignore this real-life incident on 26/11—when faulty guns hampered the cops—instead portraying them as stylized LAPD detectives).
There is a zero-stunt, beautifully shot chase sequence when Devakumar (Hari Krishnan) escapes from a deserted lodge when in the custody of Thangaraj. Devakumar is a doctoral student who proclaims his innocence when he is detained by the cops on a Naxalite/arms-related case. What Thangaraj discovers about the truth forms the crux of the story from then on.
Writer is a grim cop drama that is different from others, not just in its look and feel, but in the treatment of its plot that forms the movie’s central theme. It brings to light the plight of the classes that have remained marginalized for ages. It shows how people in power can manipulate the Right to Information (RTI) Act and deny the truth to those seeking it, exposing the inherent irony.
The movie also highlights gender bias and how we continue to regress as a society when it comes to treating women fairly. It is unfortunate enough when you belong to a certain community, and doubly so, if you are a woman. These are important societal issues that cannot be glossed over. With a running time of almost two and a half hours, Writer takes its time and offers its viewers a deeply immersive and emotional experience into these evils.
Ending Generations Of Oppression
At times a depressing tale, Writer is an important one that needs to be told and heard today. In the face of other uninspiring and insincere dramas (like this one that drowned an important social message in the cacophonous celebration of its lead actor’s stardom), Writer shines brighter in comparison. Through its brave characters that bite the dust, Franklin Jacob tells us that generations of oppression cannot end in a flash. The road to parity is a long and winding one.
Franklin Jacob’s directorial debut impresses with a mature take on societal issues.
U/A | 2 hrs 30 mins | Crime Drama
Release Date: Dec. 24, 2021
Cast: Samuthirakani, Dilipan
Director: Franklin Jacob