I found Iratta an extremely hard-to-watch feature. While well made, the blatant misogyny and depiction of violence against female characters who lack any hint of individuality make this a very infuriating movie.
We review the 2023 film Iratta, which does not contain spoilers.
The Malayalam-language whodunit thriller, Iratta, marks Rohit M.G. Krishnan‘s directorial debut. Since it premiered, the film starring Joju George in a double role has been making waves among critics and global Netflix audiences.
Iratta Review and Plot Summary
The film starts at the police station in the Keralan village of Vagamon, where the officers and members of the press and public are preparing for a local politician’s visit. Three gunshots, followed by the discovery of Assistant Sub-Inspector Vinod’s (Joju George) dead body, abruptly interrupt the festivities.
Following the unexpected murder, the police stop anyone from leaving the station, remove any recording devices from the reporters, and are under a tight deadline to figure out what happened to Vinod.
Vinod’s estranged twin brother, the Deputy Superintendent of Police Pramod (also played by George), is in the hospital getting treated for a panic attack when he hears the news about his brother’s death. Pramod is a recovering alcoholic whose wife, Sreeja (Sreeja Ajith), had left him with the infant daughter 17 years prior because he was abusive.
For all those years, she refused to allow him any contact with his now-teenage daughter, Swetha (Meenakshi Dinesh), whose talents landed her in the finals of a reality TV singing competition. But the man still hasn’t lost hope for a reconciliation.
Pramod heads to the station where his brother died and sits in on the investigation. Three fellow officers were in the vicinity when Vinod was shot.
A series of flashbacks paint a grim picture of the life the deceased led. He was a violent drunkard and a rapist, and it’s even implied that he shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near children.
All in all, not exactly what we’d like to call a model citizen. But who hates him enough to murder him in broad daylight at a public event, no less?
There’s no denying this is a very well-made movie with a talented director at the helm. The non-linear style of telling the story works well, and it’s pretty easy to follow.
Rohit M.G. Krishnan effectively uses sound to enhance the drama presented on screen. And the giant twist revealed at the end was brutal but not exactly unexpected, as the audience is let in on the secret very early on.
It’s hard to praise or enjoy a movie about a character as horrid as Vinod is portrayed to be. Iratta makes it even harder by presenting the story from the man’s point of view and even giving him an unearned redemption in the form of his wife, Malini (played by Anjali), who he treats like one would a beloved prized pig. (The guy’s idea of romance is to promise never to rape her again.)
His actions are portrayed as the result of a man who suffered horrific childhood abuse at the hands of his father. But why does Vinod gets a voice when his victims are barely in the script as anything more than pretty ornaments?
While Pramod is shown as the “good” twin for being sober and more honorable, we don’t learn enough about him to care. He isn’t treated with the same thoroughness as his dead twin, he barely appears in any of the flashbacks, and there are too many holes in his story to be compelling in any way.
Is the 2023 movie Iratta good?
I found Iratta an extremely hard-to-watch feature. While well made, the blatant misogyny and depiction of violence against female characters who aren’t even given a hint of individuality make this a very infuriating movie.
The men in the story get a backstory, a feeble attempt at redemption, and, dare I say it, are treated with grace and compassion. All the talented actresses who signed up for this movie were reduced to playing terrified props.
And the only two female characters with more than two lines between them are a police officer and a politician whose parts could have been played by male actors without changing the narrative in the slightest.
What did you think of the 2023 film Iratta? Comment below.
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Resources outside the U.K.
- U.S.A – The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE)
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- Australia – The National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Line at 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732)