Malayalam filmmakers seem to cook murder mysteries with the same recipe all the time. If you have any doubts, watch debutant director Salam Bappu's Red Wine.
A murder happens pretty early in the film and an investigation officer start his march past from then on, as clues go in search of him one after the other. Also the frequent flashback scenes explain what had really happened on that fateful night, when the murder happened.
Towards the middle of the second half, the crucial info is learnt and then the culprit's involvement is proved, in a dramatic way. It happens almost the same way, though there are definite pointers on who the murderer is, right at the beginning of this story. Now, that is definitely unconventional.
C V Anoop (Fahadh Faasil) is an engineering graduate serving as the local secretary of a leftist political outfit in Wayanad. He gets killed in a hotel room at Kozhikode, where he had come to perform in a drama.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Ratheesh Vasudevan (Mohanlal) is appointed to nab the killer. The third lead in the film, an automobile executive named Ramesh Kumar (Asif Ali) behaves in a strange way, even as his pregnant wife needs him by her side.
Of course, as it is mandatory in our thrillers, there are a few characters who will come during the first half just to keep the viewers distracted from the actual events. Here there are quite a number of characters, with barely any real significance to the plot.
With a shaky-at-times script, old-fashioned style and some rather okay thrills, this one never comes up with any surprises. There are too many loose ends and unconvincing sequences but we would rather not discuss it and play spoilsports for those who haven't seen the film yet.
In a role, which could have been done by a lesser-talented star, Mohanlal looks evidently uncomfortable. Remember the old investigation drama called Mugham, in which he played a cop? If that character had gone through lots of emotions then, here he is a mere spectator.
It is Fahadh Faasil's excellent screen presence and effortless acting style that adds some seriousness to this rather 'normal' investigation drama. Asif Ali has come up with a good performance as well. The supporting cast, especially Saiju Kurup and Mia, have done their parts well.
Red Wine is not bad, but it is not great either. If you are not looking forward to some modern pattern or a different narrative style, the film may be a fine option as well. The choice is all yours.
Verdict: Above Average