Friday, April 23, 2021

Limbo Review: A Subdued and Utterly Entertaining Commentary on the Refugee Experience

Amir El-Masry	...	Omar Vikash Bhai	Vikash Bhai	...	Farhad Rest of cast listed alphabetically: Kwabena Ansah	Kwabena Ansah	...	Abedi Grace Chilton	Grace Chilton	...	Margaret Kenneth Collard	Kenneth Collard	...	Boris Cameron Fulton	Cameron Fulton	...	Plug Silvie Furneaux	Silvie Furneaux	...	Cheryl Jorge Gidi	Jorge Gidi	...	Cuñado Lewis Gribben	Lewis Gribben	...	Stevie Ellie Haddington	Ellie Haddington	...	Beatrice Sidse Babett Knudsen	Sidse Babett Knudsen	...	Helga Sanjeev Kohli	Sanjeev Kohli	...	Vikram Raymond Mearns	Raymond Mearns	...	Mike Kais Nashif	Kais Nashif	...	Nabil Ola Orebiyi	Ola Orebiyi	...	Wasef

Release date: April 30, 2021
Running time: 104 minutes        
Written and Directed By: Ben Sharrock
Starring:  Amir El-Masry, 
Vikash Bhai, Kwabena Ansah, Ola Orebiyi

Limbo is a wry and poignant observation of the refugee experience, set on a fictional remote Scottish island, where a group of new arrivals await the results of their asylum claims. It centers on Omar (El-Masry), a young Syrian musician who is burdened by his grandfather’s oud, a Syrian musical instrument, which he has carried all the way from his homeland. 

Lizzie Francke	...	executive producer Wendy Griffin	...	line producer Irune Gurtubai	...	producer Angus Lamont	...	producer Ross McKenzie	...	executive producer Julia Oh	...	executive producer David Segal Hamilton	...	executive produ
Limbo has overtones of Napoleon Dynamite, with it's dry but so funny comedic style and its muted performances.  The film has a phenomenal cast that can tell so much without saying a lot.  The movie has sharp, funny writing, but the delivery and expressions of the performers are what really sells the humor.  El-Masry as Omar is a joy to watch, despite the fact that he rarely expresses joy.  His performance is stoic, realistic, and so wonderfully dry that you can't help but appreciate it.  And Omar is joined by his roommate, now friend, Farhad (Bhai) who has a similarly stoic performance.  Some of the funniest scenes in the film are his dead serious delivery of some very funny observations.  And the other members of his flat provide additional humor, with some more emotion and argument between these brothers with very different dreams. 

And Limbo has such an amazing style that it is tough to describe.  The film is set against the bleak Scottish countryside, but uses this to full advantage.  The cinematography captures some absolutely beautiful scenes in this fairly monotone landscape.  And shot choice and camera work are absolutely stunning despite capturing fairly drab settings.  The movie has splashes of muted color to really sell this, and little touches to make sure you appreciate the beauty in this strange setting.  And this is accompanied by some equally engrossing sound.  But again, this sound is so well done but is often impressive in its restraint.  The sound transports you there, with a bleak quietness and muted quality when needed, and howling, harsh environmental sounds when appropriate.  The sound draws you in and makes you feel that much more engrossed in this whole story.  And these all contribute to the feeling of the refugees, the harsh, boring isolation of their day to day experience.  

Limbo stands out with its serious performances but unrelenting humor.  The film focuses on the refugee experience, with all the good and bad that comes with it.  Although there are plenty of negatives associated with that, such as racism, poor living conditions, endless bureaucracy, and a lack of basic services, Limbo also highlights some of the good, such as the friendships that can develop or the dreams of those seeking asylum.  It uses this wonderful style to tell this story, one that will have you thinking and laughing at an absurd representation of what are likely realistic absurdities.  And the film is so special because it does this; provides biting, painful observations about our refugee system while still providing smiles and entertainment.  And it also succeeds in humanizing those that are often just a statistic.  It gives you insight into the diversity and dreams of these people, and lets you see them as friends, potential neighbors, and ultimately human beings.

Limbo uses its stylish, subdued cinematography and stoic performances to tell a poignant and utterly entertaining tale that both entertains, humanizes, and provides biting commentary about the refugee experience.

Watch it.

Directed by  Ben Sharrock	Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)   Ben Sharrock	Immigrant humor comedy drama refugee afghanistan iraq iran
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following us on our various social media platforms: FacebookTwitterInstagramYoutube. Limbo is available in theaters on April 30, 2021.  For showtimes, click here.

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