Aser YassineMaged El Kedwany...
Action & AdventureCrime
In 10 Cinemas
Typically, we don’t review Arabic movies, but Torab El-Mass (Diamond Dust) calls for an exception. The film made a lot of headlines due to its star-studded cast, and the fact that it’s based on Ahmed Mourad’s novel of the same name. Being a thriller, Diamond Dust is somewhat unique to most Egyptian movies of this day and age.
When the Blue Elephant was released, a lot of people were impressed by the film’s high production value, while others were frustrated over how much it strayed away from the novel. Mourad was forced to tackle the same challenge again with Diamond Dust, and so the main question remains: did the filmmakers succeed in bringing the soul of the novel to the big screen?
All in all, we believe they managed to do so quite impressively. While a number of details may have been skimmed over, or completely eliminated, we feel that all the major events and main plot points have had their fair share of screen time. A negative point here, however, is the fact that the film’s narration can feel a bit confusing and cluttered at times, with a slight need for some missing pieces here and there. Yet, this point aside, the film remains quite an enthralling ride.
If you haven’t read the novel, this film review may contain a few small spoilers. Ahmed Kamal plays the father of Asser Yassin (Taha Al-Zahar), and the movie starts with Taha returning home to an assaulted father. Confused by the sight, Taha is attacked and goes into a comma. The movie then delves into two parallel timelines: the past and the present. In the present, we witness Taha’s investigation of the incident. As per the past, in the novel, Mourad was able to integrate a large part of history, specifically Egypt under the rule of Mohamed Naguib. However, there was no room in the movie to integrate that part smoothly, and it felt a bit forced. As such, the present timeline overshadowed the past with its much smoother execution, and brilliant direction, courtesy of the talented Marwan Hamed.
Acting contributed greatly to the success of this movie. Asser Yassin played his role with ease. Indeed, there were a number of scenes that showed how immensely talented Yassin is, while Menna Shalaby showed us that minor details make all the difference in acting, and with that she stole the show.
One of the most important roles in the movie was that of Maged El-Kedwany, and while his talent is under no doubt, we were glad to see him assuring us that there’s still a lot more where that came from. He plays a complex character, a villain that has to be slightly likable and humorous, and he immensely succeeds. Actors such as Sherine Reda, Ezzat El-Alaily, Bayoumy Fouad, Sabrin, and Mohamed Mamdouh had smaller parts, but they were able to use their acting chops to give the movie a genuine push forward.
Visually, the movie is nearly impeccable; from cinematography, to Marwan Hamed’s captivating directing style, to the costume design and the overall mise-en-scene, this film is a true visual masterpiece. Unfortunately, we were expecting a bit more in terms of the soundtrack, courtesy of Hesham Nazih, but it fell a bit short of our high expectations.
Over all, the Egyptian film industry is very much in need of movies like Diamond Dust. Thus, a round of applause is due to everyone behind this innovative piece of art.
Translated by: Sherif Khairy