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Jiivi Movie Synopsis: Frustrated at his failed romance, an intelligent man decides to steal from his landlady’s house. Even as he comes up with clever ways to outsmart the cops, he realises that his actions are echoes from the past.

Jiivi Movie Review: Saravanan (Vettri, whose performance is much better here than in his debut, 8 Thotakkal, but still has room for improvement), the protagonist of Jiivi is definitely one of the interesting lead characters we have seen in Tamil cinema in the last few years. He is someone who has dropped out of school because he believes practical education is knowledge. He’s also curious. He is the kind of guy who reads a lot of books and prefers to watch an infotainment channel even while his roommate, Mani (Karunakaran, effective) wants to watch late-night shows where doctors offer sex advice. He is someone who doesn’t worry too much about morality. When they decide to steal from their landlady, a woman with an invalid husband and a visually challenged daughter, Mani asks him if he isn’t worried about God observing their actions, he retorts, “Naama kashtapadumpodhu paathuttu dhaana irundhaaru?” He doesn’t even flinch when the neighbour whom they have made the fall guy for their crime approaches them as friends. It is no wonder that we see them watching Mankatha, another film with a hero who did unheroic things unapologetically. This scene even has a line – Enakku naan dhaan hero – that explains Saravanan’s character and also serves as a meta moment for the film’s lead actor.

What’s remarkable about Jiivi is that it doesn’t worship or demonise Saravanan. Like it’s hero, the film takes an impassive look at his actions. Both director VJ Gopinath and writer Babu Tamizh are more interested in showing us the intelligence of this character and the unique position in which he finds himself in in the latter half of the film. They manage to explain the concept – synchronicity – without confusing the viewer, using Mani’s character to make the exposition feel like conversation. They also introduce tension in subtle ways – a short-tempered cop, a ceiling fan that might fall off any moment – and keep us hooked.
Technically, too, the film is as slick as its writing, turning it into one of the memorable thrillers of the year.

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