Thursday, December 3, 2020

Luxor Review: A Beautiful Trip To Egypt That Hits The Brakes Far Too Often

Andrea Riseborough	...	Hana Michael Landes	Michael Landes	...	Carl Shirin Redha	Shirin Redha	...	Dunia (as Shereen Reda) Karim Saleh	Karim Saleh	...	Sultan Ahmed Talaat	Ahmed Talaat	...	Concierge Janie Aziz	Janie Aziz	...	Angie Indigo Rønlov	Indigo Rønlov	...	Indigo Trude Reed	Trude Reed	...	Sarah Rest of cast listed alphabetically: Nada Ahmed El-Dardir	Nada Ahmed El-Dardir	...	Alia Shahira Fahmy	Shahira Fahmy	...	Leila Salima Ikram	Salima Ikram	...	Salima Stephanie Sassen	Stephanie Sassen	...	Maria

Release date: December 4, 2020
Running time: 85 minutes
Starring: Andrea Riseborough, Karim Saleh, Michael Landes
Written and Directed By: Zeina Durra

When British aid worker Hana returns to the ancient city of Luxor, she comes across Sultan, a talented archaeologist and former lover. As she wanders, haunted by the familiar place, she struggles to reconcile the choices of the past with the uncertainty of the present.

Director: Zeina Durra Writer: Zeina Durra    Hisham Alghanim	...	co-producer (as Hisham Al Ghanim) Ihab Ayoub	...	associate producer Gianluca Chakra	...	co-producer Zeina Durra	...	producer Mohamed Hefzy	...	producer Mamdouh Saba	...	producer Paul Webster	...	executive producer Daniel Ziskind	...	associate producer
Luxor is an absolutely beautiful film that will transport you to a Egypt to experience some very special places.  You get to see an old style hotel, tombs and beautiful deserts, and the charming nights in this special place.  I, like I imagine many people, have not made this particular pilgrimage so getting to experience this is a special treat.  And you get to see it through the eyes of experienced travelers Hana (Riseborough) and Sultan (Saleh).  Riseborough is very good as Hana--as you would expect from this talented actor--and she really embraces this character.  But the surprise hit for me was Sultan.  He was a charming and enjoyable character, one that I liked seeing on screen and wanted to know more about.  And he is much needed for this duo because Hana is more pensive and thoughtful during this film, so Sultan is a more magnetic character to relate to.  

However, the film does not have much of a sense of purpose.  In many ways, it felt like a love letter to Egypt, which is a noble goal, but not one that made for an interesting film.  I loved seeing the places, but I kept expecting more to happen in the movie.  It has a slow, thoughtful pace, which I appreciated, but I also felt like it was not advancing anywhere on its journey.  And Hana's character is a little sporadic at times.  She is definitely dealing with sins of the past, but most of this is only hinted at.  There are no flashbacks, photographs, or other ways for the viewer to really experience what she has gone through.  All we get are vague hints and oral recollections, which don't evoke the same level of understanding in the viewer.  And in that respect, it makes it so that when she has any sort of break, it just seems to come randomly.  That being said, you can still appreciate the beauty and majesty of Egypt through this film, and during lockdown maybe that is not such a bad thing.

Luxor is a beautiful film that will transport you to Egypt, but the slow pace and limited story progression make for a more leisurely trip than I was hoping for.

Rent it.

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Samuel Goldwyn Films will release LUXOR On Demand and Digital December 4th.

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