Stream or skip: Female-led gory revenge drama 'Rekha' on Netflix
Jithin Issac Thomas's Malayalam revenge drama Rekha arrived on Netflix earlier this week after its theatrical run. Atmospheric and volatile, the action-filled drama feels like two different chapters rolled into the same story—the first half gravitates toward the titular protagonist falling in love, while the second half focuses on hardcore revenge. However, Rekha eventually boils down to an underwhelming watch with terribly lost potential.
Film is about woman on mission
Set in a Kerala town, the film illustrates Rekha's life—a young adult, a tomboy, who is athletically inclined and wishes to garner higher education while people around her try to limit her to her gender, calling her of a "marriageable age." She has a torrid affair with Arjun, but when her father dies mysteriously and Arjun flees, Rekha takes the reins into her hands.
Intense first half, but loses steam thereafter
While the plot has no dearth of potential, and the lead actor gives the role everything she can muster, Rekha still falls short of becoming an engaging watch that the audience can easily connect with. After an intense first half, the film begins to search for breathing space and struggles with pace, coherence, and continuity, making everything a dull, patience-testing, and botched-up affair.
Story doesn't move ahead, leaving viewer frustrated
Once Arjun flees, and Rekha (Vincy Aloshious) takes it upon herself to make him confess the secrets up his sleeve, the story refuses to move ahead. We learn nothing new than what we already know courtesy of the drama's first hour. The same set of events move in a circular motion, and ultimately, they add only to the runtime and not to the story.
Missed potential evident in multiple scenes
Not using words and yet saying a million things is a rare quality—one that is seen in the best art films from across the world. There are moments in the second half of Rekha when you can see tensions simmering on the surface as Aloshious makes her eyes do all the work, but alas, the scenes still feel superficial, rubbed clean of fervid emotions.
Romantic aspect between duo is well-sketched-out
There are multiple traces of what Rekha could have been instead of what it ended up being. For instance, from the sequences when the couple's love blossoms in a clandestine manner to the parts where this "forbidden" romance metamorphoses into passionate intimacy to the times they chat at a shop while hiding from the literal and figurative societal gaze—there's a lot at work here.
'Rekha' can be given complete miss
For what it's worth, Rekha has a promising story, a rustic setting, an ambitious, non-traditional heroine, and limited characters—something that would have worked in its favor and kept the viewer engaged, but alas, the second half doesn't match the intrigue value of the first one. It bubbles with potential for a while, but it has a short shelf-life. Rekha fails to receive our recommendation.