El Markeb: Weakly Executed Drama
of El Markeb revolves around a group
of young and reckless friends who take a boat trip together behind their parents’ backs. Sailing into the middle of the sea,
they engage in all sorts of outrageous debauchery. Karma seemingly hits them hard, though; as the boat’s
captain dies, leaving the friends completely helpless and stranded. They
must figure out a way to get back to shore, but they slowly begin to turn
against one another, as dark secrets surface.
immediately sounds very familiar and can be likened to the plots of recent
American films such as Open Water (2003) and its 2006 sequel. Still, the elements
that go into making this type of drama tick most of the boxes for a tense thriller- if executed
in the case of El Markeb, the story is
not only familiar, but also weak, exaggerated and full of plot holes. The
captain’s death is a flimsy and very cheap catalyst for the events to unfold,
and will have you rolling your eyes. Also, the group of self-indulgent
teenagers fail to gain the audience’s acceptance at the beginning of the film,
and so when they become stranded, it’s difficult to have any sympathy for them.
While the film includes newcomers such as Ahmed Saad and Islam Gamal, you’d
expect the likes of Farah Yousef and Yosra El Lozy to give stronger
performances considering their higher level of experience in comparison to the debutants’. The only respectable but sadly brief performance is by Raghda, who
plays El Lozy’s alcoholic mother. Generally, the performances vary on the range of the exaggerated and excessively
dramatic, making it almost impossible to empathise with the characters in
their ordeal, or even as real people.
El Markeb is definitely
different from the standard Egyptian films out right now, but poorly rehashing old plots from other films and the cast’s exaggerated and
melodramatic acting make this a train-wreck of a film.
Shot on a low budget,
El Markeb won’t appeal to the indie film demographic, nor can it compete on
any level with the bigger commercial films. Director Abu Laban clearly chose the setting of
the boat as an alternative backdrop for teenage angst and a younger
generation’s issues to play out on, but the questionable production values make
it an awkward and claustrophobic watch that will almost certainly make you want
to jump ship.