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Pencil Movie Review

Review Overview

Performances
Screenplay and Direction
Technical Aspects and BGM

An intermittently watchable thriller!

Liberally inspired from Korean thriller 4th Period Mystery, debutant Mani Nagaraj has presented an intermittently watchable thriller, which gains momentum only post interval. Contrary to the minimal cast in the original, Pencil takes delight in its fine supporting cast that manages to bring the roof down, mostly in the second half, occasionally with the neatly woven situational comedy.

Cast: GV Prakash, Sridivya, Shariq Haasan, Rahman & others

Cinematography: Gopi Amarnath

Music: GV Prakash

Editing: Anthony

Written & Directed by: Mani Nagaraj

Produced by: Kalsan Movies

Distribution: PVS Cinemas

Release Date: 13-05-2016

Run Time: 02:14:00

GV Prakash’s long-gestating Pencil, which was supposed to be his debut film, has finally released today. Liberally inspired from Korean thriller 4th Period Mystery, debutant Mani Nagaraj has presented an intermittently watchable thriller, which gains momentum only post interval. Contrary to the minimal cast in the original, Pencil takes delight in its fine supporting cast that manages to bring the roof down, mostly in the second half, occasionally with the neatly woven situational comedy.

Shot entirely in a school campus, Pencil revolves around a murder mystery. Shiva (GV Prakash), a school topper, always locks horns with Nithin (Shariq Hassan), a spoilt brat from an affluent family. The petty quarrels between the duo escalate into a tussle when Nithin burns Shiva’s thesis papers, which the latter was working on hardly for the past two years. Subsequently, Shiva and Nithin exchange blows in the campus, making their enmity obvious to everyone in the school. Under these disorderly circumstances, Nithin is found dead inside a class room and Shiva becomes an inescapable suspect. Maya Srinivasan (Sri Divya), a voracious book-reader who savors crime novels, joins hands with Shiva to unravel the cause of death and identify the killer.

While the first half is a sloppy rip off of 4th Period Mystery, Mani Nagaraj comes up with a fairly good set of sequences in the second half, thanks to the entertaining supporting cast spearheaded by VTV Ganesh, TP Gajendran and Mirchi Sha. But it’s also a little disappointing to see comedy dominate the overall proceedings, thereby acting as a stumbling block to the genre – thriller. There are frequent lull moments when the comedy flunks on screen and impedes the narrative atmosphere.

The great revelation in the climax is not up to the mark and the road Mani Nagaraj opts for is severely uneventful. Other than demonstrating a half-hearted attempt by focussing on establishing comedy as the major ingredient in the screenplay, had Mani stayed true to the genre and adapted the original with little more care, Pencil could have been a solid thriller.

Cinematographer Gopi Amarnath needs to be applauded for not making the viewers feel claustrophobic in a film, which is completely shot in a confined environment. He blends his work with a variety of shots to smartly liberate us from the monotonousness.

Though GV Prakash puts up a decent performance as Shiva, Sri Divya doesn’t fit the bill as Maya, a character which demands more verve and shrewdness. Shariq Hassan is badly miscast as the perverted, narcissistic student who indulges in morally reprehensible activities.

Pencil Movie Review Rating: 2.5/5

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Written by Surendhar MK

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