Sunday, May 2, 2021

Movie Review: Limbo


Michael's Movie Grade: A-

An intensely moving comedy/drama. 

This movie tells a story about a group of refugees who are stuck on a remote island off the Scottish coast. Director and writer Ben Sharrock (in only his second feature film) manages to tell this story without it becoming either a depressing dirge or sugarcoating the situation. This is heavily accomplished by a great sense of humor, that is in equal parts deadpan and delightfully offbeat. While this is not the pure comedy that its trailers hinted at, this does not change that the comedic moments are legitimately really funny. Much of the great humor comes from the character of Farhad (Vikash Bhai), whose love of Freddie Mercury, attachment to a chicken (whom he names Freddie Jr.) and self imposed title of being (our main character) Omar's (Amir El-Masry) manager draw big laughs. His more optimistic outlook also provides a great contrast to Omar's sadness and in turn he keeps the film from becoming too depressing. The most offbeat comedy comes from a class that all the refugee's must attend. The teachers (Sidse Babett Knudsen, Kenneth Collard) provide us with some very funny and very strange comedic moments that for many will be highlights of the film. 

 Most of the movie however is a rather slow moving experience. As the characters are in a state of limbo (hence the title), much of this film involves not much really happening. These characters are going through the mundane experiences that now fill much of their lives. Scenes involving trips to a market, characters watching TV and just having everyday conversations therefore are more powerful than any bigger scale scenes could ever be. Much of the drama of the story comes from a musical instrument that Omar carries around. Due to both an injury and a yearning for his old life, he never plays it anymore and yet he carries it around with him always. He is told multiple times in this movie that a musician who does not play is dead, which emotionally he is. Yet something keeps him hanging on to this instrument that is still a part of who he is, just as much as any body part. Ideas like this say more than any big emotional scene ever could. 

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