In 2018, Kerala witnessed one of the most devastating floods in its history, leaving a lasting impact on the lives of its people. The scars of those directly affected by the calamity, whether through loss of life, homes, or livelihoods, still remain. However, amidst the chaos and destruction, a remarkable display of humanity emerged, as people from diverse backgrounds, regardless of caste, creed, or economic status, joined hands to support one another. Director Jude Anthany Joseph’s recent film, “2018,” beautifully captures this spirit of resilience and compassion, and succeeds in portraying the essence of that extraordinary period.
The story of “2018” unfolds in the village of Aruvikkulam, introducing us to its inhabitants and their daily lives. Among them is Anoop (played by Tovino Thomas), a former army personnel who feigned illness to secure employment in Dubai and support his family. The film also focuses on a fisherman’s family, consisting of Lal, Narain, and Asif, with Lal and Narain embodying the proud fishermen while Asif Ali aspires to pursue acting. Additionally, we meet a pregnant woman, parents of a differently-abled child, a blind individual, and numerous other characters who collectively weave the fabric of this narrative.
The first half of the film paints a vivid picture of the ordinary lives led by these diverse characters within the village. Gradually, the rains intensify, and within a few hours, the situation takes a grim turn as Kerala becomes engulfed in flooding. As viewers, we are transported into their world and share their helplessness. Moments of suspense arise throughout the film, as we anxiously await the next turn of events. Whether it is witnessing the dramatic airlift of a pregnant woman, Asif Ali’s character encountering a snake during a rescue mission, or the heroic efforts of the fishermen saving stranded individuals, each scene moves us profoundly.
While “2018” occasionally adopts a melodramatic tone, it largely succeeds in evoking the desired emotional response. The film is technically proficient, immersing the audience in the experience. Although it may feel slightly drawn out towards the end, it stands as a testament to the resilience of the people of Kerala and the global outpouring of support during their time of need.
“2018” is a heartwarming film that elicits empathy for its characters, immerses us in their harrowing circumstances, brings tears to our eyes, and ultimately provides a sense of relief when they are rescued. When a film can elicit such a range of emotions, it signifies the director’s success in achieving their vision.
Tovino Thomas delivers a standout performance amidst a cast of exceptional actors, including Lal and Asif Ali. Indrans, Naraein, Kunchako Boban, Aparna Balamurali, and other supporting characters leave a lasting impact in the limited screen time they receive. The cinematography by Akhil George, editing by Chaman Chacko, and remarkable visual effects help the audience grasp the magnitude of the disaster.
Director Jude Anthany Joseph’s “2018” serves as a poignant reminder of the Kerala floods, showcasing the endurance of the human spirit and the significance of solidarity during times of survival.