Director: Tharun Moorthy
Cast: Dhanya Ananya, Shine Tom Chacko, Balu Varghese, Lukman Lukku, Vinayakan
The spotlight of Operation Java is on Anthony George (Balu Varghese) and Vinaya Dasan (Lukman). They are youngsters with a fantastic education; and they are great with computers. Computers are their thing. But they have been unable to get a job and so they’re out to just prove something to the world (if not the world, at least to themselves). They need to show that they are not as worthless as the people around them seem to think that they are.
So, they hang around a cyber cell of the Kerala State Police Department. We get a series of cases and each one is about a cyber crime. It’s like a multi-episode binge watch, very similar to the series Law and Order, where, in each episode, a crime is committed and solved by detectives who jump in and track clues to find the killer.
All these cases are lent a uniform, yet different, look by the cinematographer Faiz Siddik. It’s not easy to make five very different cases kind of look similar in and a two-and-a-half hour film. Editor Nishadh Yusuf also does a marvelous job of balancing the sharp cuts with long moments when emotions need to linger.
But it’s the wiring that makes or breaks a movie and the writing here is wonderful because it not only captures all these minute details that make up all these crimes but also because it feels like a real life crime where one clue leads to another. Details are captured with great humour and wonderful sentimentality. Even though the music at times was too ‘big’ for my taste, the emotions and sentimentality felt earned.
I kept thinking about the character played by Vinayakan whose wife is one of those people whose faces get superimposed on or maybe just happens to look a bit like a woman in a porn film. Your heart just breaks seeing what they’re going through.
There’s this other lovely writing touch where Vinaya Dasan talks early on about his sister, like it usually happens when people are introduced in a film. The scene is about someone asking him about the people in his house; he says that he has a mother and a brother and so on. When he says that he has a sister who is deceased, you know this defines him. Later, Vinaya Dasan reveals the how and why of her death. The writing is so good that this information is dropped at the right time in the film.
In a way, Operation Java is, strangely, also a family story because Anthony and Vinaya Dasan end up in the police department and the older people become almost like mentors and fathers. There’s a sense of two people enjoying life with their family.
The film is a beautiful combination of romance and practicality and the cruelty of the establishment. The film’s ending is a statement about what the film is about (revealing it would spoil it). But whatever happens to the two in the end, at least they manage to prove that they’re not as worthless as the world thought they were.