U/A; Drama/ thriller
Dir: Rajeev Ravi
Cast: Farhaan Faasil and Ahaana Krishna

Njan Steve Lopez (I am Steve Lopez) is the debut Malayalam film by National Award-winning cinematographer Rajeev Ravi. Set in Tiruvanathapuram, I am Steve Lopez is a coming of age film for the protagonist Steve (Farhaan Faasil), who leads a typical teenager’s life which includes crushes, bunking college, whatsapping buddies and guzzling down alcohol at the slightest hint of a heartbreak.

As the son of an influential policeman, Steve leads a rather cushy life and is busy wooing the neighbourhood girl Anjali (Ahaana Krishna). Just then a twist of fate has Steve witness an ugly attempt to murder as part of a gang war. Steve instinctively takes the injured man to the hospital, not realising the repercussions of his actions.

In spite of his initial reluctance, Steve starts getting deeper and deeper into the gangster mess, in the process realising his father’s participation in the sinister game. Steve’s idyllic, purposeless life suddenly takes a disturbing turn and even though it seems like he doesn’t care about anything on the outside, he does realise that he needs to take a stand for what is right.

Ravi is consistent even as he stays true to the chosen story by taking us through the bylanes and farms around Tiruvanathapuram with the dexterity of someone who knows it like the back of his hand. His characters are real, believable and fallible just like us. Even as he tells us the routine chores of Steve’s ordinary life, he also subtly depicts his secret fantasies in a matter-of-fact manner.

The actors have been chosen with good care and Faasil gives a decent performance as a clueless youngster who is broken when faced with some harsh truths. But at some points, the film goes ahead at a really slow pace and tighter editing would perhaps have helped in keeping the curiosity alive. Watch it as it narrates an intriguing story aided by good performances.