CAST & CREW
Trance is a 2020 Indian Malayalam Movie neo-noir psychological thriller film directed by Anwar Rashid and written by Vincent Vadakkan. The film received mixed reviews, with some praising its courage and Fahadh Faasil’s performance, while others criticized the plot and character development.
In an age where religion is the new drug, Anwar Rashid’s trance-like state is sure to resonate with those blinded by faith, free thinkers and sceptics. The film is ultimately the story of a fake pastor who is nothing more than a front for a corporate operation powered by faith to mint money. Viju Prasad (Fahad), a hapless motivational speaker, runs from post to post, trying to get on with his life while caring for his younger brother. However, things get worse, and he is forced to move to Mumbai for a fresh start. In this desperate situation, he receives an offer from two wealthy men (Gautam Vasudev Menon and Chemban Vinod) to join them as a minister of sorts.
Their purpose is to mint money under the pretence of faith. After taking a crash course in theology, Viju assumes the identity of Joshua Carlton, his pastor, and promotes his image as a select brand of saviour with his charming personality and miracle work. However, because the stunt was performed on live television, the entire incident comes under scrutiny, and the rest of the film follows the impact on Joshua, his superiors, and his subordinates.
Fahadh as the submissive Viju and the flamboyant Joshua are the maniacal energy that drives the film. He is charismatic, like Joshua, and his personality reflects some of the popular faith healers around the world. Gautham Vasudev Menon, Dileesh Pothan as Joshua’s advisor, Abarachan, and Soubin Shahir as TV journalist Matthew are the other three main characters who bring the necessary weight to balance Fahadh’s performance. Nazriya’s role as Esther Lopez is unlike any role she has played before. As a girl who smokes weed and drinks alcohol, it’s definitely different from the bubbly girl-next-door roles she’s usually associated with.
The supporting actors of Chemban Vinod and Vinayakan make the movie interesting. Coach Anwar got the first half absolutely right in terms of pace and content. However, the second half of Vincent Vadakkan’s screenplay loses momentum, with the plot largely mirroring Joshua’s mindset in these scenes.
The makers seem to have pursued style over substance in the second half. The relationship between Esther and Joshua also seemed haunting, making the movie drag on for about three hours. But Vincent scores points for capturing the relevant premise in a sophisticated and stylish way, highlighting the dangers of hope posed by false messiahs. Amal Neerad’s cinematography, especially the Kanyakumari and Mumbai scenes, adds a breath of fresh air. As always, the frame is very stylish, and along with the background music by Sushin Shyam and Jackson Vijayan, the Trance is a versatile watch.