Kerala: November 15, 2019
Delh: November 22, 2019
Anna Ben, Lal,
On the face of it, Helen is a survival flick. The protagonist gets stuck in a dangerous space where no one knows she is trapped. Watching her desperate effort to stay alive is a chilling experience made all the more so by the text in the end revealing that her story is inspired by true events. But the film is so much more than just that.
Helen Paul’s life choices and every aspect of her identity play a role in what happens to her here.
Anna Ben, the charming curly-haired debutant from Kumbalangi Nights, proves here that she has the acting muscle to carry a film on her slim shoulders. Her confident turn as Helen is especially impressive since she spends half her screen time all alone and the rest mostly with a seasoned performer like Lal who plays Paul. The latter, in fact, is the only cast member who raises
pitch a notch a couple of times. For the most part
though, he makes Paul believable and loveable despite his flaws.
Among a capable team of supporting actors, the most significant performance comes from Aju Varghese playing the slimy policeman Ratheesh. The actor should give himself more such breaks in a career dominated by
often indistinguishable from
each other. His rendition of pride and prejudice in this film froze me to the
These departures in tone aside, Helen is clever in the way it never allows its socio-political inclinations to override its fundamental goal of being a survival thriller. This is a consequence of some shrewd editing by
Rating (out of 5 stars): 3.5
CBFC Rating (India):
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Poster courtesy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_(2019_film)