(Review originally written at 16 January 2011)

This movie is often being called an overlooked one, or even one that is under-praised and deserved to sweep the Oscars. But let me say that the movie is just not being THAT good. It's a good humble little movie, that is being like a slice of life but it's at the same time also a really underwritten one because in the end the movie simply doesn't resolve anything, which makes you wonder what you have watch the previous 90 minutes for.

It's not a movie with a message in it or not even with a morale. The movie in the end leaves more questions than answers, which is due to the fact that never gets resolved or explained at the end. You can over-analyze this movie and its intentions but I call it an anti-climax and the most disappointing aspect about this movie, which I still liked though. It's just being an underwritten movie and often picks the easy road but at the same time it also manages to avoid a lot of clich├ęs or false sentiments. This is probably why I still really liked the movie.

And there is also no denying that this is still a very well done film, considering all of its limited resources. The narrative, camera-work and editing all works out for this type of movie and its really a genre that seems to suit Ramin Bahrani directing style and approach.

It's one of those movies that prefers mostly non-professional actors for most roles in this movie, in order to give the movie a more realistic and every day life feeling to it. Personally I'm not a big fan of this, since I have seen too many movies in which this simply did not worked out. And in this movie it only works out half strangely enough. The one moment the acting is just spot on but on the other there are also some moments in which the main actors deliver their lines toe-cringing bad. But it's hard to say if this is only just the actor's fault or also that of the director or writer's. Anyway, it makes it seem odd and wrong that the acting in this movie is being praised so highly, while it in fact is really being a mixed bag and I'm talking about both Souleymane Sy Savane's and Red West's performance then. The only performance that was consistent to be honest came from the young Diana Franco Galindo.

It's a movie that I thought was a great watch throughout, despite of its somewhat disappointing ending but it's just not a movie that ever touched me in any way. The characters felt far too distant for that, again, because the movie is being somewhat underwritten. So the movie to me is still being a bit of a mixed bag, though its definitely true that the good things in this movie outweigh the bad things, in the long run.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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