Like all high-octane sports dramas, the film 'Finals' by debutant director P R Arun hinges on the excitement of a tight-finish, only that in this film all the thrill is reserved for the climax. It's a multi-layered narrative that encompasses youthful romance, sporting events, life's turmoils, social vices, revenge and a final redemption.
Alice, played by Rajisha Vijayan, is a prodigious cyclist who is raring to go and upon whom the sporting fraternity has pinned hopes of an Olympic medal. Hailing from a modest family in the hilly terrain of Kattappana, Alice is supported by her desperate father Varghese (Suraj Venjaramoodu), who is an ex-athletics coach and widower. Meanwhile, Manuel (Niranj S), Alice's childhood buddy, follows her dream in all her endeavours like a shadow.
The movie coasts through an absorbing course, but at times the script turns bland and drowns the aesthetic tenor. There are several moments that are too enervating to leaving you idle. But, there are a few mesmerising moments too that lift your emotional quotient altogether.
Suraj showcases a brilliant performance as a disoriented, ever-melancholic father, while Rajisha pitches in with her usual vibrancy and intensity of a caring and determined daughter. Niranj too gets into the skin of the character as a poignant and never-say-die optimist. Maniyanpilla Raju as the sports minister, Muthu Mani as the journalist, Tiny Tom as Manuel's father and Sona Nair as his mother all form a lively ensemble cast.
Sudeep Elamon's camera unfailingly captures the rustic charm of the Idukki hill ranges and the dramatic moments. Music by Kailas Menon is quite enchanting. But the jarring background score mars the flow of the narrative on several occasions.
Though the makers announce that the movie is completely a fictitious story, the credits rolls at the end says the film is dedicated to cyclist Shiny Siles who who died in a road accident while competing in the State Road Cycle race at Manjeri in 2002.
The movie may not be an absolute thriller, but it turns out to be a winner as it sends you home with some lingering thoughts.