If, at the end of it, a movie leaves you with your head in your palm, thinking "Not this again," there's not much scope for redemption.
Forensic, starring Radhika Apte and Vikrant Massey, is a psychological thriller about a cop (sub-inspector Megha Sharma played by Apte) and a forensic officer (Massey as Johnny Khanna) come together to find a serial killer.
The thriller's first half is interesting and shows a lot of potential. Even if it seems implausible and dull in places, the initial premise is built well enough to keep an audience watching.
That being said, the film's decision to use some interesting suspects are red herrings and instead bank on a transphobic "plot twist" left me disappointed but not surprised.
Forensic (2022) is the Hindi remake of the Malayalam original of the same name starring Tovino Thomas and Mamta Mohandas. The Malayalam original, while not being experimental in the genre, is a far more sensitive and braver film than the remake.
When Silence of the Lambs released in 1991 and even entered the glitzy Oscars race, there was public outcry about the film's disservice to the LGBTQ+ community and especially trans people.
Even so, the Jonathan Damme film was self-aware but Forensic seems to be stuck in a rut between trying to draw its audience in and also trying to be "smarter" than them. That was 1991, this is 2022.
Trans characters have often been used in pop culture as a "gotcha" moment as if the existence of any character outside the cisgender binary is so implausible.
The character is painted as an evil, monstrous entity. And their gender identity is treated as a "disguise" and the character is then casually misgendered and deadnamed as if the trans identity existed only as a 'plot twist' (the plot also confirms that the character has opted for a sex reassignment surgery).
The Malayalam original was very well received by audiences (the trans character is a new addition in the remake btw) and was all-in-all entertaining.
The Hindi remake can boast of good performances by its leads Apte and Massey, even though the latter's character treads the thin line between whimsical and nonsensical.
Judging by the source material, the remake, written by Adhir Bhat, Ajit Jagtap, and Vishal Kapoor seems to be playing it safer and tamer.
Forensic (2022) knows how to weave a story but it often outsmarts itself in the effort to perhaps create a story the audience won’t see coming. Even without the problems mentioned above, the film struggles to find its footing within the world it has created.
Thrillers can be strange, they can be unpredictable, they can be simple or complicated, they can even take the risk of being unbelievable but if they aren’t gripping, they will not work. I wish the film had ended half an hour before it did; would've been a much better, concise film than it is now.
Forensic is streaming on Zee5.
Rating: 2 Quints out of 5