Jeethu Joseph’s 12th Man review: Exploring human relationships through the maze of an investigation

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The film stars Mohanlal in the lead

Man is not what he thinks, but what he hides, some say. Jeethu Joseph’s 12th Man -- which unveils the tough dynamics of human relationships through a group of supposedly close-knit people and an unforeseen situation they end up in -– tries to lay bare cold realities of relationships. The group is apparently totally unprepared for the experience.

Six women and five men, who were collegemates, get together at a resort to celebrate one of their upcoming weddings. Things take a sour turn when they inadvertently start playing a risky game, that ends up revealing ‘classified information’ about many of their lives.

Meanwhile, a drunk man at the resort also keep annoying them from time to time. What then?

Formatting an interrogation scene in a film is no cakewalk and that too avoiding clichés. 12th Man deserves applause for trying to tell a major share of the story through an interestingly structured police interrogation sequence, filling it with simple yet intriguing dialogues, expressions and a tad dramatic flashback.

The screenplay by K R Krishna Kumar for the story by Sunir Khetarpal offers no special set-ups or dim lights, though you perhaps notice the overall ‘resort atmosphere’ was a bit eerie from the beginning. Neverthless, the film shows how basic, sensible questions from someone can make respondents crumble under pressure, especially while trying to hide behind a veil.

The story neither has easily confessing suspects nor power dynamics in play. But still, the scenes are tense and engaging for most parts for a viewer to be patient enough to wait till the culprit is unravelled through a labyrinth of lies.

Yes, there are stretches where you get impatient wondering how long the probe will latch on to certain ‘possibilities’ or ‘twists,’ but overall, the storytelling conjures up a decent tale of investigation.

The characters can’t be rated as too challenging for any of the actors essaying them in 12th Man. Regardless, each of their subtle performances add to the excitement and shock value of the revelations.

The BGM gives a sense of mystery to the story in most places, but there are also certain junctures where it goes slightly over-the-top.

Mohanlal headlines the movie '12th Man' directed by Jeethu Joseph.

Considering the number of characters, their convoluted equations and histories, at times you lose track of who is who, unless you are thoroughly attentive.

12th Man is not a typical fun watch, for it demands a bit of your concentration. However, those who love investigation thrillers and unearthing twisted crime stories can enjoy the film without a doubt.

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