Directed by: #Nandan
Written by: #Nandan
Breath stars Sarath Kumar and Nischal Ramesh as two young men feeling the squeeze of the latest police crackdowns on drug dealers.
The ‘pot’ brokers, Sarath and Vaasu, have menial day jobs, however, making a decent and honest living has become tougher and they find themselves trying to keep up their side hustle despite harsher police crackdowns. Taking place over one night, Vaasu meets with a possible buyer but suspicion and doubt lead to a potentially profitable yet morbid solution to Sarath’s beef shortage.
Underscored by gripping cinematography, Kumar and Ramesh both deliver intense and captivating performances. Kumar, who plays Sarath, is strong in his role and somehow is very relatable as an anxious youth doing what he must to get by. His commitment to the role is captured by effective wide angles and extreme close-ups that buttress his acting. Nischal Ramesh radiates a calm and collected problem solver but seems hesitant and stale at some points in his delivery.
With sound effects and music few and far between, the lack of a score adds to the drama of the film; without any music, the film is still able to draw out emotions that music is meant to. For instance, the 'sound of night’ (crickets, dogs barking) in one particular scene, heightens the sense of uneasiness felt by the audience for Sarath as he waits alone.
The buyer, played by Mallikarjun Devaramane, may leave viewers puzzled. Whether this was intended as a result of good acting or unintended due to bad acting, the question remains; is he an undercover cop, nervous buyer or bargain hunter (looking to rip them off)?
While viewers may not have had any personal experience of the struggles of inner-city life in Kerala, contemplating life from the characters’ point of view is thought-provoking. While running the risk of excusing wrong behaviour; understanding the reasons behind people's actions or decisions can go a long way to being less judgemental and more empathetic, especially in regards to taking criminal measures to make ends meet.
A very good and engrossing watch, with clear and easy to follow subtitles. It’s not very clear whether the buyer meant any physical harm, and as such, the result of the ensuing conflict is left to be justified by the audience. Be sure to catch Vaasu’s closing line.