“2018: Everyone is a Hero” is a poignant and impactful cinematic journey that skillfully captures the harrowing events of the severe flooding in the south Indian state of Kerala in August 2018. Directed by Jude Anthany Joseph, who also shares writing credits with Akhil P. Dharmajan, the film presents a moving narrative that revolves around the collective efforts of individuals from diverse backgrounds facing catastrophic consequences during the calamity.
At the core of the film is its ability to create relatable and endearing characters. Tovino Thomas, portraying the character of Anoop, an ex-soldier with aspirations of seeking a better life abroad, is introduced as a genuine and caring man. Despite facing ridicule from some townsfolk for leaving the army, Anoop’s dedication to his work as a shopkeeper for a blind man and his willingness to risk his life to save others reveal his heart of gold.
Similarly, Asif Ali‘s portrayal of Nixon, from a family of fishermen aspiring to be a model, adds depth to the narrative. The strained relationship with his father and elder brother due to his career choice provides a personal touch to the larger disaster unfolding. The film masterfully weaves together these individual stories and others, showcasing how ordinary people rise to the occasion to help save lives as the disaster looms.
Director Jude Anthany Joseph succeeds in making the characters relatable, and their situations become emotionally resonant for the viewers. The film employs an excellent combination of visual effects (VFX) and art direction to convey the extremities of the flooding, capturing the scale and impact of the monsoon rains that led to the worst flooding in the Kerala area in nearly a century. The tension is palpable, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats throughout the film.
The pacing, storytelling, and editing are commendable, making the 126-minute runtime feel like an insufficient amount of time to fully delve into the narrative. The film strikes a delicate balance, portraying the danger and risks involved in saving lives during such calamities while maintaining a sense of hope and resilience.
One of the film’s strengths lies in its central message – “Everyone is a hero.” It beautifully portrays the fighting spirit of the people of Kerala, showcasing their unity in the face of adversity. The film does not veer into propaganda but instead, it focuses on the lives affected and emphasizes how the community rallied together to avert the loss of many lives.
“2018: Everyone is a Hero” is not merely heart-touching; it offers a thoroughly satisfying cinematic experience. The film manages to evoke a range of emotions, from moments that bring the audience close to tears to those that are sonically and visually pleasing. The seamless integration of production and storytelling elements contributes to the film’s overall impact.
As India’s official submission for the Best International Feature Film category at the 96th Academy Awards, the film rightfully deserves this recognition. It carries a theme that inspires positive change and serves as a reminder that every individual can contribute to saving lives in times of crisis.
I will score this film as 8/10. It is a brilliant film inspired by true events. That deserves to be seen by many.
While the film may serve as a painful reminder for the people of Kerala and the families who lost loved ones in the tragedy, it also honours their struggle and pride as a heroic community. “2018: Everyone is a Hero” stands as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of collective action in the face of adversity.