Survival movies are a rarity in Malayalam film industry especially involving women characters. Helen has a simple plot based on a true story and the director was successful in leaving your mind devoted to thinking about what you saw on screen for a long time. The smart script and direction gives the film plenty of life, but Anna Ben's (Helen) stalwart performance really drives the film forward. She has a killer smile and an amazing screen presence. In the second half, the smart framing allows us to come near the subject and feel the anxiety and tension. You will root for the character. Most of the Survival movies bring some new instinct that you never even knew they had in order to battle for life. Here also you will see some desperate attempt made by Helen to keep her life afloat with whatever resources she had. The movie smartly switches between the inside and outside world.
The relationship between father and daughter, their little screen space and conversation were a delight to watch. The supporting cast were good and played their parts reasonable well. I really liked the sadist role played by Aju Varghese. There are no explosive tension mounting or heart thumbing score here, it gradually escalates as the story progress. I had absolutely no idea about the real life incident, so i was guessing a different kind of plot as the story unfolded in the first half, making me suspect few characters. There were few dialogues in the climax which stood out emphasizing the importance of connecting with the people through smile and warmth. It shows how these small gestures and caring do make a huge difference in this world dominated by technology. Overall its a great team effort and a steady start for a debutant director Mathukutty Xavier. Go for it.
Verdict - 3.5/5(Defy the Odds)