I.D. Review

8.5

Film Pulse Score

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Release Date: TBD
Director: Kamal K.M.
MPAA Rating: NR

What if something happened to someone who was working in your home.  You discover they have no identification on them and they look to be in serious condition.  You do the right thing and get help.  Once the paperwork and reports are taken that should be the end of your involvement, right?   Right?  If it turns out it wasn’t what would you do?  How far would you take it?   Kamal K.M.’s solid mystery/drama raises these questions as one woman attempts to find out the identity of a mysterious laborer in the film I.D.

Charu, a young, career-minded woman living in Mumbai allows a day laborer into her home to do some painting.  She insists the man is late but he says he’s not and that she has her dates mixed up.  Flustered she has him do his work even though it cuts into her day.   The man unexpectedly falls ill and lays on her floor unconscious.  Charu does what she can to get the man help and it is a frustrating process as time is of the essence.   Overcoming numerous obstacles she finally gets the man to the hospital where she believes her involvement has ended but it is only the beginning. 

Kamal K.M.’s directorial debut is a thoroughly engaging drama that is ultimately about our inherent responsibility to ourselves and those around us.  While it seems the bureaucracy in Mumbai isn’t that far removed from those of Western societies it certainly is frustrating to watch.  Not just in terms of getting aid but personal involvement as well.  You can really get the sense of frustration Charu feels when she gets drawn into something but you also feel the conflict between doing what she thinks is best for her and the need to do what is right.   Take for example the scene where Charu must decide if she wants to take responsibility for the man and pay for his tests out of her pocket.  If she doesn’t he will not be treated.   What a predicament.  While watching it you can’t help but ask yourself what you would do in that situation.  It’s hard to come up with an answer.   These are just some of the situations that Charu must handle as the film progresses.

Charu is played by Geetanjali Thapa.   She delivers an incredibly layered performance as she moves from one situation to the next.  You can feel the apprehension and indecisiveness as she is thrust into one decision after another that not only affects her but the laborer, as well.  When we first meet her you get the sense that she doesn’t want to be there and that she feels the laborer is an inconvenience.  However you notice a change in her when the man is in trouble and she becomes a bit more compassionate.  If she weren’t she wouldn’t have taken him to the hospital.  She valiantly tries to juggle her job hunting with talking to the authorities while she seeks out the man’s identity.  As she gets more involved you continue to see a change in her and she grows more empathetic.   Again as you watch the film progress you may wonder what would you do in that situation.  Tough choices for sure.

Kamal K.M. draws you into the mystery and he effectively conveys how daunting the task of solving it will be.    He gets a star-making turn from his leading lady who truly carries the film from start to finish.   Well paced and written it is an effective examination about the need for identity even in an age where just about everyone and everything is connected.   If identity is lost and there is no one around to speak of you, you are essentially lost forever.   Perhaps that is the driving force behind Charu’s quest and in the process she found herself and when the end credits roll perhaps we may find a bit of ourselves, good or bad, as well.