'Eighteen Hours' movie review: An engaging survival thriller with relentless action

For most survival thrillers, the storytelling template begins by establishing the characters and setting up the mood with thrilling elements. 

Eighteen Hours begins with a carefree couple who seems to be on a leisurely trip. They randomly bump into a few hijackers who are portrayed as a bunch on a mission and can go to any extend to accomplish their goal. Meanwhile, a group of young girls and their teachers are set to leave for Bangalore for a school competition. As the flight has been delayed, the team opts for a bus and decides to go ahead by road.

With Eighteen hours, which is streaming on ManoramaMax, director Rajesh Nair and his team has made sure that each and every character of the film is treated in a manner suitable for the film’s plot without creating unnecessary situations and how the eighteen hours change the life of each character.

As shown in the teaser and trailers, the students on the bus come under attack by the armed men whom we witnessed in the opening sequences. What keep us hooked to the almost 1 hour and 36 minutes film is the anxiety whether the girls can survive!

As the narrative progresses, there is a sense of urgency. While the kidnappers want to reach their destination, the cops are on their way to hunt them down. On paper, it is a story that spans across a single day and night. It’s an idea that could have gone haywire because of its thin plot, but writers Vinod and Vinod (Vinod Jayakumar and Vinod Vijayakumar) make the proceedings riveting and engrossing with a bunch of energetic newcomers. 

The film has some really interesting characters and each one’s presence is well justified. The police officer in-charge played by Shyamaprasad, for instance, asks Vijay Babu, the father of a kidnapped girl, to calm down and tells him how all the kids are equally important to him. The character stays true to the screenplay showing that no one is superior to another just because of their stature during a time of crisis.

However, certain events are not convincing enough like the pre-climax action sequences. Also, there are quite a few loose ends that might leave the audience thinking. 

Having said that Eighteen Hours is not a lost cause. The background score design by Prakash Alex and editing by Deepu Joseph go hand in hand setting the right ambience. A special mention for cinematographer PM Rajkumar who plays with a dark tone as the narrative majorly happens in night. 

The organic tail-end twist gives the film a different build-up, leaving an opening to yet another exciting cat-and-mouse game.

Overall, Eighteen Hours is a thrilling watch. It may not make you jump off your seat but the pace and engaging narrative will keep you hooked till the end.

(The movie is available on ManoramaMax)

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