With the year almost coming to a close, it is time to look back and review how 2018 did in terms of Malayalam cinema. This year, Malayalam cinema has given us interesting a couple of films, a lot of which have the potential to be remembered fondly in the years to come. My main issue with the year so far is that it hasn’t been consistent in terms of quality. There were many releases, like Kayamkulam Kochunni for instance, that I had high hopes for given the names attached to the project as well as the budget backing it up, but which ended up disappointing me as they made the “creative” decision to forgo a good story with interesting characters and instead have a mess of occurrences directed to entertain the masses (with no other deeper value), and in the process, rake in the cash.
Gladly, a lot of my favorite filmmakers from the country hail from Kerala, and it always surprises me how innovative their storytelling is or directorial decisions are. With all that being said, here’s a look at the list of top 10 Malayalam films of 2018.
‘Ranam’ is a film that I have more positives to say about than negatives, which is why I’ve included it in this list. The negatives are still strong, but the film propels a different kind of cinema in the industry, with raw energy driving its Hollywood-inspired yet strikingly original neo-noir filmmaking style. It is a compelling watch, though its plot feels mostly like a cluster of events from several movies of the same genre released before it, a lot of which is too clichéd to be referred to as just inspirations. The actors do their job well, and the film is competitively directed, but with the kind of promotion it had going, I expected a lot more. The film quite infamously under-performed at the box office this year, causing its cast to come out with some sad statements on social media. Everything else aside, this is probably the best directorial debut in Malayalam cinema this year.
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9. Sudani from Nigeria