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Sujith Vaasudev who shot to fame through his excellent camera work with films like Dhrisyam and Memories to name a few tries his hand by taking the directorial mantle for the first time.
The good things when one think about his film James and Alice is that it has good and eye candy visual frames and a pretty good story even though a major portion of it is something that we have seen before. Add to these, we have a very relevant subject of marital discord which has so much relevance in today’s lifestyle among the youths.
Now if I list out the bad or negative stuff in the film, the main thing would be the presence of too much melodrama, good dose of preachings and an unbelievable and unconvincing climax though the intention of the writer was good.
James and Alice are the two pivotal characters around which the film takes its shape. They had a love marriage and have a little daughter Pinky. James is an artist and an advertising film maker while Alice is a Bank employee.
Once the initial honeymoon period is over, friction and crack starts appearing in their life and at some point Alice decides to separate ways as she find it hard to adjust with the attitude of her husband. The film basically show their present and past life through a mix of incidents from the two phases and takes a different turn with a surprise from the halfway mark.
James and Alice has an extended first half running to more than ninety minutes. The pace of the film is something that affects the flow of the film to a great extent. They could have ended the film much earlier but the screenplay goes on the never ending mode dragging things in the end.
Sujith Vaasudev excelled as usual with his impressive camera works and his frames gave the right feel for the total mood of the film. On the direction side, he should have done better. Adopting an outdated style and narrating the story in a dull manner, the film suffered because of some unrealistic approach in the flash back scenes. The present period had a realistic feel and it was executed quite well.
In life, there is no chance of a retake and if we are given a chance to correct a wrong doing that we did sometime back or undo something bad in our life, it would give our life a second chance to mend. The story stresses this fact but spreading lot of preachings in these areas with a slow paced approach (which one can forgive considering the nature of the story), James and Alice couldn’t make an impression at least for me.
On the acting side, the character of James was an easy role for an actor of Pritviraj’s calibre and range. He did it with his usual style and flavour. Nothing more or nothing less. For Vedika, it was a lengthy, meaty and heavy role as Alice. This character passes through different phases from a lover, to a wife, mother and a depressed women, it was a character that tested her acting skills in which she came out with with flying colours.
Among the supporting actors with small or bigger roles, Saikumar, Vijayaraghvan, Kishore Sathya, Manju Pillai, Sudheer Karamana and Sunil Sugada made their performance count. The little girl who played the character of Pinky was also notable. Sijoy Varghese with the voice of Anoop Menon was a perfect casting for that role.
As I said, cinematography of Sujith Vaasudev stood out. There is an accident scene that happens at one stage and though it was too long, nevertheless it was a commendable effort from the team in capturing it so well making it look proper on screen. Editing could have been better as the film required some trimming to reduce the running time. I was not much impressed with the songs but Gopi Sundar did a better job when it came to the BGM.
Technically a good film with a very good message but it is too difficult to adjust to the pace of J&A. Too much melodrama in presentation and dialogues combined with a less engaging screenplay made it an underwhelming movie for me with goodness in parts.