I have tried my level best to give the Kuttram 23 Review with minimal spoilers. I have refrained discussing the main conflict but I have made some remarks that might give you a hint. So discretion is advised.
Firstly, hats off and thanks to Arivazhagan for adapting a crime novel by Rajesh Kumar. It’s a welcoming trend that a set of new age directors have started adapting books – Pradeep Krishnamoorthy adapting Sujatha’s Aah (for Saithan) is another instance in recent times.
Kuttram 23 begins with a murder at a church and a missing case. Vetrimaran (played by Arun Vijay) is assigned to the high-profile case of the missing woman, and he recognises a connection between the murder and the missing woman. The rest of the movie is about how he finds the conspiracy behind the case.
Arivazhagan had reiterated in the trailer and promos that Kuttram 23 is a medical crime thriller and the title sequence goes to the extent of showing what could be the conspiracy but he has managed to sustain the suspense till the end. His unwavering screenplay is the backbone of the movie, and the deduction of the crime is methodical and not forced. The research is quite compelling, and it shows in the making of the film.
Arun Vijay shows a stark difference between Yennai Arindhaal and Kuttram 23. He carries the movie on his shoulders, and he does the job quite well. The character could have become a common police caricature, but Arivazhagan and Arun Vijay had made sure that it didn’t. Arun Vijay is finding his place in Tamil cinema after a long wait. Mahima Nambiar, Abinaya and Thambi Ramayya have done their supporting roles perfectly.
Kuttram 23 one of the exceptional interval blocks in recent times. The tension was so intense that even the audience around me were suggesting what Arun Vijay should do. It was indeed predictable, but the audience didn’t want it to happen, but it’s an eventuality for the story to move forward. Vishal Chandrasekhar’s background score has immensely helped Arivazhagan to keep the audience on edge. Although I usually don’t talk about other technical aspects of movies, I admired the camera work of Bhaskaran in this film.
It doesn’t mean that Kuttram 23 has its issues. The death in the hero’s family has been forced into the narrative although the director has tried to justify it with a reason. When the villain uses the lethal injection on the hero, it’s surprising to see that he survives the ordeal for a fight and the director did slip a bit in that sequence (I don’t want to give more spoilers). The way hero finds the connection to 23 was amateurish too in an otherwise intelligent movie.
However, Kuttram 23 shines because of the taut film-making and is refreshing to see such well-written adapted screenplays. Although Vallinam was a decent sports movie, it didn’t do well at the box-office, but Arivazhagan redeemed himself with Aarathu Sinam (for box-office records), and Kuttram 23 will take him to greater heights.
I go with 3/5 and it’s worth watching Kutram 23 in theatres. You will not regret the experience.
PS., The Villain’s intentions had a stark resemblance to Law and Order (Special Victims Unit) – Season 12 Episode 22- “Bang” – but well as these episodes are made based on real life stories and Rajesh Kumar based his novel on news articles, this could be a mere coincidence.