The Goat Life Movie Review: Not A Routine Film

The Goat Life Movie Review: Not A Routine Film

Movie: The Goat Life
Rating: 2.75/5

Cast: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Amala Paul, Jimmy Jean-Louis, Shobha Mohan
Music: A. R. Rahman
DOP: Sunil K. S
Editor: A. Sreekar Prasad
Director: Blessy
Producers: Blessy, Jimmy Jean-Louis, Steven Adams
Duration: 173 minutes
Release Date: March 28, 2024

Malayalam Cinema has a special place in the hearts of movie buffs. They have explored different genres and the storytelling is at its best.

Prithviraj Sukumaran teamed up with director Blessy for the adaptation of the best-seller novel 'Aadujeevitham' ('Goat Days') written by Benyamin.

Blessy spent around 16 years on this film since he started discussions with Prithviraj in 2008. Critically acclaimed musician AR Rahman has scored the BGM for this film based on a true incident.

The film has got a wide range of promotion as Kamal Haasan and Mani Ratnam raved about it. All these have garnered a lot of attention. Let's check out.

Najeeb Muhammad (Prithviraj) moves to the Gulf to work as a helper, leaving behind his pregnant wife Sainu (Amala Paul) and his elderly mother (Shobha Mohan) in order to support his impoverished family.

However, upon his arrival, Najeeb discovers that he has been deceived. He is forced into slavery to work as a goatherd in a deserted area. Thus begins his endless ordeal as he can only speak his mother tongue.

This story explores how Najeeb survives this harrowing phase and ultimately breaks free from the evil clutches of Khafeel (owner/sponsor in Arabic) who held him as captive.

Artists' Performance:
This is the all-time best performance of Prithviraj who underwent extreme physical transformation to look like the Gulf victim. It is a one-man show and he carried off this adventurous survival drama on his shoulders. The way he got under the skin and bones of the role is quite impressive. It is an award-winning performance of him. The pain and ordeal looked real.

All the actors have done commendable work. Amala Paul has got very limited screen presence, yet she gets noticed. Jimmy Jean-Louis as a fellow immigrant in Saudi gets a significant role.

KR Gokul is seen as Prithviraj's friend who goes through a similar ordeal. Talib Al Balushi is very brutal as an evil Khafeel.

Technical Excellence:
The film features one of the best technical crew. Sunil KS's visuals, AR Rahman's background score and Sreekar Prasad's editing make it work. Writing is plain though and the slow narration mars the experience. However, this is not a typical film. 

Prithviraj's Performance
Pain & Survival Ordeal
Undercurrent Emotion
Visuals & BGM

Snail-Pace Narration
Flat Screenplay
Predictable Tale

The Goat Life primarily has two major challenges - one is the adaptation of a best-selling novel to film and the second one is it lacks basic commercial ingredients. And it has a known story. Director Blessy sails through these challenges, thanks to Prithviraj's outstanding and flawless acting.

The viewers get engrossed in this survival tale. Occasionally it gets boring and turns patience tester. This survival story lacks many adventures. It is more of an ordeal of the protagonist. The film is a 173-minute sorrow saga which goes on and on.

The first half has some moments and a decent watch. The second half moves in an expected way. Director Blessy keeps it very limited compared to the original story in the novel.

Amala Paul has a very short screen time. She hardly has any scenes which is a bit disappointing as it doesn't properly establish the bond between the husband and wife.

The film has a predictable story considering that it is a well-read novel and it dates back to several years. While watching the film, one realises that the storytelling is also quite old. It is flat and the story moves in a very sluggish way. These shortcomings put the viewers off. 

However, it is the technical aspects which compensate for these. Visuals are well captured and make audiences hook to the proceedings on the screen. The filmmakers succeeded in establishing the Gulf milieu and making viewers feel they were present in the proceedings on the screen.

Rahman's compelling background score enhances the cinematic experience. The undercurrent emotion of the protagonist is maintained well throughout the film. The climax is not cinematic, it just has a plain ending.

The Goat Life is not a run-of-the-mill cinema one comes across. It is quite different from the formulaic films that are made. Brace up for some boring and dull moments in this survival drama and it is worth a watch for Prithviraj's remarkable acting.

Bottom Line: Prithviraj's One Man Show!