Some movies deserve to be made, and some movies just should not have been made. Crime thrillers, especially movies that cover crimes against women, always garner attention. Many filmmakers have chosen to talk about it, but many also took the approach of writing stories just because the subject was trending, and it would be profitable to make a film about it. “Christopher” is one such film about an old-school cop who becomes a vigilante when it comes to crimes against women. This Malayalam-language film, written by Uday Krishnan and directed by B. Unnikrishnan, is all about what is wrong with the system when it comes to increasing crimes against women.
An Inquiry On Christopher
Two sisters—one adult and one minor—are missing from their home for a night when the neighbor files a missing persons complaint to make sure the girls are found. The neighbor woman comes across as a compassionate woman who cared for the girls that were deemed missing. One of the girls works as a food delivery driver, and her younger sister is a school student. Unfortunately for the neighboring lady, the girl’s bike is found two kilometers away from their home, and soon the sisters are found as well, heavily mutilated. The younger sibling is battling her injuries while the elder sister dies of aggravated sexual assault injuries. The investigation is fast-tracked and handed over to Christopher, who heads the Division for Preventing Crimes Against Women. His team is quick to nab the culprit. But on a visit to the site where the body was dumped, Christopher decides to kill the culprits, making it look as if the culprits tried to run away and were killed for running away to avoid criminal proceedings, which will begin soon against them. Christopher is caught doing the crime, and as per the law, there is a legal inquiry against the man for taking the law into his own hands to kill the culprits. Custodial killing is what it is called, and the inquiry is suggested by Home Secretary Beena Chacko, Christopher’s ex-wife, and it is to be headed by Inspector Sulekha. Christopher carries no guilt for conducting a killing such as this one, and Beena is made aware of that fact. Sulekha is hired to perform the investigation and head the inquiry to get a female perspective on the killing of a culprit who was accused of brutal crimes against two young women.
Sulekha joins the inquiry knowing the final verdict will be against Christopher, but she will have to make sure to bring in the entire life story of a man who has fought for the people who are oppressed and downtrodden. Christopher began as a man who helped in nabbing the band of raiders on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border in the late 1990s. In that clash, he lost his partner, Ismail. Ismail had one daughter, Amina, and since his death, Christopher has decided to raise Amina as his own. Christopher rarely shows emotions that come to the surface, but this time he’d lost someone like a sibling in Ismail, who’d stood by his side. Christopher had to make sure he takes care of Ismail’s daughter, Amina, as his own and did not make her feel like an orphan. He comes across as a man who empathizes rather quickly with people of lesser means because he grew up with close to nothing himself, and he only had his police uniform to fall back on. Something that could protect him through and through. He took up the police job only to make sure he would take care of the people who find it hard to find justice for themselves and their loved ones.
His story moves to the later part of the year when he was briefly married to Beena Chacko, an IAS officer who came from a rich and influential background. Though Christopher was never interested in his father-in-law’s lavish parties thrown to show his influence, he showed sympathy towards people working at his wife’s home. Even with Beena’s brother being caught in the drug and human trafficking racket, he makes sure to stand by people who face huge losses personally. Christopher did not take this lightly, but he made sure it did not affect his married life either. Sadly, another case comes up, involving three missing women, and he concludes that the person once again involved in this massive case is his brother-in-law. Christopher’s investigation leads him to Beena’s brother, and him being an honest police officer, he makes sure he is not left untouched no matter what his connections are. Christopher, with his wife and his father-in-law on one side and him and his team on the other, managed to nab the culprit. Sadly, the investigation officer was asked to pass off the murder as a byproduct of the culprit’s bipolar behavior. In the hope of showcasing his behavior to the media, Christopher ends up killing his brother-in-law in self-defense. In that process, he ends up divorcing Beena and starts remaining aloof, dedicating all his time to raising Amina. Beena and Christopher fall apart only because of ideological reasons. His ideology was to serve the people for whom the law was made, while Beena and her father were influential people who would do anything to make sure they got out of tricky law and order situations. Christopher gladly stayed away from taking advantage of the law and made sure he stood by the truth.
‘Christopher’ Ending Explained: How Does Christopher Avenge The Death Of Amina?
After years of staying out of the public eye, Christopher comes back as the man heading the Division for Preventing Crimes Against Women, while he also spearheaded the cybercrime laws for the police force in Kerala. As the inquiry against him is on the way, his adopted daughter Amina saves a girl from a boy who is relentlessly harassing her, and Amina involves the law and the police to make sure the girl is not harassed further. However, the boy ends up throwing a petrol bomb at the girl, leaving her struggling to survive. Though there is no concrete case against the man who threw the petrol bomb, the boy runs away from Kerala, only for his body to be found in Goa. Sulekha manages to track down Christopher’s whereabouts around that time, only to notice the coincidence that Christopher was also in Goa when the culprit died. Christopher admits to being in Goa for a private function, but he denies having any involvement in the murder of the said man. Christopher is slowly having a strong case built up against him as it is shown that he was the one, as a vigilante cop, who decided to take matters into his own hands to make sure the girl who suffered massive burn injuries was avenged, even when she was on the brink of death.
Amina is aware of Christopher’s savior complex behavior and does not agree with his tactics. Amina as a human rights lawyer believes one should let the law take its course instead of taking the law into their hands. She heads out of town to meet siblings Jiby and Susan because she helps them with their studies and provides financial help from time to time. To everyone’s shock, Amina is brutally raped and murdered, only for it to be investigated by Sulekha and the most corrupt officer in the force, George Kottarakkara. George makes sure to mislead the investigation. Soon, Christopher remembers that Amina was approached by Sitaram Trimurti’s wife regarding his illegal drug trade and plenty of information about his other illegal business dealings. She also wanted to divorce Sitaram. But the said wife was found dead of high blood pressure in the next few days, and Amina, who had all the information about Sitaram, was also found killed brutally.
Christopher is aware of who is behind the murder of his adopted daughter, but since he is not an investigative officer, he does not have the authority to accuse Sitaram of the same. He knows the rules, and since he is not in uniform, he makes sure to stay within the rules this time so that he is not accused of killing anyone. Christopher helps nab the rapist, much to George’s annoyance, who is revealed to be on the payroll of Sitaram. Sitaram had hired a man to kill Amina and made sure to have George placed as one of the leading investigative officers so that the final verdict of the case went in his favor. But their plan falls flat with Christopher’s interference, who nabs the rapist who is sure to divulge information on further interrogation. The man does reveal the names of the people who hired him, but Christopher knows this person will be given bail rather quickly. He takes it upon himself to kill the man in the presence of Sulekha, who believes sometimes Christopher’s way of dealing with criminals might be right.
The number of crimes against women is on the rise, and Amina also became part of the statistics. Christopher rightly points out that the people behind such heinous crimes are always let off, or in many instances, the cases are indefinitely delayed. This way, justice is delayed for the people who suffer. Christopher goes one step ahead and kills those responsible for the crime without giving them a fair trial because a good lawyer who is given a hefty sum will make sure the criminal is proven not guilty or at least given bail. The police officers are corrupt enough to botch up the investigation process and manipulate the autopsy reports as well. Men like Christopher break all these barriers by taking the law into their hands, eliminating the man without thinking further ahead, and not waiting for years for the case to conclude. Sulekha might officially disagree with his vigilante approach, but as a woman, she understands the need to do that to make sure there remains fear in people before committing any crime.
Christopher can eliminate the police officer George and get to the businessman Sitaram in the case of Amina’s killing. Sitaram, in the hope of completely destroying Christopher, hires people to kill Beena. Sitaram can only hope to destroy Christopher by eliminating the people he loves from his life one by one. He was hoping that would stop Christopher from running behind Sitaram once and for all. But thanks to the new jailer of the prison where Sitaram is placed, he makes sure Sitaram is killed inside the cell where he was kept by Christopher himself and presents the same as an encounter, which is his forte. All the police officers involved in the arrest and protection of Sitaram end up supporting Christopher because they finally understand what the man was trying to prove by being a vigilante cop which society requires. Sulekha puts forward a glorious report praising the said man, and he is cleared of all the charges as before. Christopher ends up adopting the girl who survived the rape attempt at the beginning of the film, and just like he helped Amina become a strong, independent woman, he aims to bring this girl up in the same manner, hoping she will bring some changes, just like Amina was trying to do.
Just like many previous films that claim to talk about women’s empowerment but end up sending out the wrong message, “Christopher” can be brought into that category as well because, in the hope of making a point about crimes against women, here the director and the director try their maximum to titillate the audience by bringing up the topic of rape, s*x, and sexual offenders, and none of these topics are presented with sensitivity keeping in mind these cases concerned all these crimes committed against a woman as per the screenplay. The writer and the director cannot claim to be champions of the women’s cause when they cannot present the screenplay and narrative in a manner that does not trigger the audience. Many scenes are shot in such a way that they will infuriate the audience, especially the female audience.
The movie is made only to grab the attention of the male gaze and doesn’t serve the purported cause of the film at all. The glorification of a hero who helped women is again a problematic trope. Men carrying the mantle of saving the women from any harm being done to them is some sort of savior complex, which kind of defeats the purpose of the film. The films should not be about killing men for harming women but about educating men about the importance of consent and why lack of awareness and the power dynamics cause the increase in crimes against women. This is again a classic case of men writing women characters where they have no idea what a woman goes through daily to avoid being targeted or harassed by anyone around them.
“Christopher” is badly directed, and the highly misleading screenplay makes the viewing experience shoddy. The screenplay is written in an uneven manner, which makes it difficult for the audience to connect the dots. Mammootty as an actor, for the first time, seems to sleepwalk through a character that could have been dealt with sensibly. The film has an ensemble cast of talented actors, but all of them wasted their talent on a screenplay that has no depth, and no character that could be performed with intensity. “Christopher” is a commercial vigilante drama that can be forgotten over time.
“Christopher” is a 2023 Malayalam-language thriller film directed by B. Unnikrishnan.