Sign in using your account with
Sarkhat Namla: Definitely Not the Official Film of the Revolution
Sarkhat Namla revolves around the economic differences in Egypt seen through the eyes of Gouda (Abdel Gelil), an Egyptian contractor who was wrongly imprisoned in Iraq. The film tries to address the issues that Egyptians have been faced with in increasing economic difficulties such as the increase in food commodity prices, the rate of corruption and their effects on the Egyptian people.
Upon returning from Iraq, Gouda is disillusioned at the depressing state of the country. With very little to his name, Gouda finds himself in conflict; his sense of patriotism compels him to get involved in the revolution, but at the same time, his efforts to live a comfortable life lead him to become involved in the same type of underhandedness that the revolution is rising up against. Naturally, this inner struggle drives Gouda to extreme measures and consequences.
Originally meant to be a comedy, the story suffers from many elements that simply felt forced. Since it's mainly seen through the eyes of Gouda, you'll get the feeling that his jokes are misplaced. Egyptian films in the last twenty years or so have invariably pulled off adding humour to real-life situations but sadly, it doesn’t work here. It wasn't only the script that was the downfall of the film; but the setting as well.
Sarkhat Namla’s advertising campaign positioned it as the official film of the revolution. This is inaccurate, as it tries to focus on the events that helped in inspiring the revolution. In fact, the shooting was almost completed before January 25th, and when the revolution kicked off, additional scenes were filmed to make it more relevant. This further adds to the mess of the script, as the story seems disjointed. Another contributing factor is surely the fact that it had to be quickly edited after being picked to screen at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Abel Gelil turns in an adequate performance that doesn’t stray too far from his usual style. On the other hand, Youssef fails to shine and isn’t adequately used, appearing intermittently as Gouda's belly-dancer wife. The rest of the cast are distinctly average; nothing more, nothing less.
It’s actually astounding how the film fails to deliver on any of its promises. It’s neither really about the revolution, nor is it funny; the jokes and scenarios are worn out, the parts that specifically talk about the revolution only do so in a very shallow way, and images and footage of the protests are used awkwardly. Ultimately, Sarkhat Namla is a poorly executed film that fails to portray an important and topical subject adequately.
A cataclysmic catastrophe. An estranged family in peril. Indescribable destruction. Thousands of deaths. A mad scientist who predicted it all. One humble hero who saves the day.
Have you seen this film before? Come on – just no, it’s ok. This is a safe space.
Named after the tectonic fault line that runs through most of California – a line that many seismologists believe will cause a massive earthquake in the near future in the West Coast are – San Andreas is unoriginal and downright cheesy, and there’s nothing in Brad Peyton’s production that you haven’t seen before. Written by Carlton Cuse, Hollywood’s latest disaster movie is heavy on the CGI and destruction and light on everything else.
The plot is simple. Devoted LA Fire Department Search & Rescue helicopter pilot, Ray Gaines (Johnson), utilises his various skills to save his daughters after a series of devastating earthquakes, all the while facing divorce from estranged wife, Emma (Gugino). The metaphor here isn’t the most subtle you’ll ever see.
In fairness, there’s a certain pull to the impressive visual effects and the sheer level of destruction, but the heart of the film – a father’s relentless battle to save his children from the grips of an unreasonable mother and her devious boyfriend – is rendered completely uninteresting thanks to the trite interactions between its two-dimensional characters.
The only person who comes out with any sort of standing is the larger-than-life lead. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s career has been peppered with bemusing role choices (see 2010’s Tooth Fairy) but his body of work as an action star continues to gain momentum, with solid turns in the Fast & Furious franchise. Despite the deep-seated faults of San Andreas, Johnson’s natural charisma carries him though relatively unscathed and his role cements his strength as a leading man. It bodes well for his upcoming role as D.C. superhero, Black Adam, in Warner Bros’ Shazam!, scheduled for release in 2019.
Johnson’s future prospects aside, San Andreas typifies the modern Hollywood disaster movie – for better and for worse. The visuals are quite something, but it’s all a bit hollow and there’s little satisfaction in its conclusions.
If you can manage to wrap your head around the ridiculously far-fetched idea behind The Age of Adaline – a story of a woman who mysteriously stops aging at the age of twenty-nine and goes through periods of time as an ageless beauty – then you just might be able to find some joy and pleasure in watching Lee Toland Krieger’s handsomely-made but, seemingly formulaic romantic-fantasy feature.
The Age of Adaline tells the story of Adaline Bowman (Lively); a beautiful young woman born in the year 1908, who leads a pretty simple and uneventful life in San Francisco circa 1930. Life, as she knows it, soon changes, however, when Adaline has a near-death-experience in a terrifying car-accident; an incident which finds her mysteriously frozen in time and unable to age. Her bizarre condition soon becomes somewhat of an issue when, during the 1950’s, she becomes targeted by shady government officials, who are interested in having her head and body examined. With no other option lying before her, Adaline – in order to protect herself and her daughter, Flemming (Burstyn) from any possible harm - soon makes a run for it.
The story then fast-forwards to New Year’s Eve 2014 where we see Adaline living under a false name and her now grown-up daughter is pretending to be her grandmother (yes that happens). Things get complicated when she meets a handsome philanthropist, Ellis Jones (Huisman) who pretty quickly falls head-over-heals for the mysterious beauty. However, Adaline soon receives the shock of her life when she meets his dad, William (Ford) who is certain he knows Adaline from the time spent together in the 60’s.
Written by Salvador Paskowitz and J. Mills Goodloe, love – and the choices we make to either obtain it or run away from it – is the chosen topic of exploration, and while the movie – shot through a soft and whimsical lens - chooses to convey the story through a highly fanciful and bizarre fashion, the concept is still pretty inviting. However, the plot feels forced and you will have to work really hard to look past its mistakes. Luckily, though, the performances were not too damaging and both Lively – a surprising choice for the lead one must say – and Game of Thrones’ Huisman make for a charming and likable pairing while Ford turns in one of his most dramatic performances to date.
Buried somewhere deep underneath all of the ludicrousness and absurdity it chooses to bear on its relatively fragile shoulders, there seems to be a genuinely intriguing and worthwhile story waiting to be told with The Age of Adaline; it’s just unfortunate that it doesn’t seem to know how to tell it. Bizarre? Check. Terribly far-fetched? Check. Terrible? No. It’s acceptable and that’s not a bad way to be.