Mowaten X: Excellent Ramadan TV Thriller
Amir KararaAmr Youssef...
Action & Adventure
Othman Abu Laban
Rarely does a Ramadan TV production surpass our
expectations of mediocrity and leap forth to excellence. But this year, Mowaten X has accomplished such a feat.
Directed by Othman Abu Laban, the TV series offers a blend of subtle and understated
acting, close-to-real dialogue, a great marriage of music and image and exquisite
Abu Laban began his career as a commercial photographer then
turned to directing music videos and TV ads. Now with cinema directing
credentials under his belt, he draws from his eye as a photographer to give
voice to every single beautifully executed shot, often conveying more narrative
than the dialogue itself.
Mowaten X is a contemporary murder mystery that focuses
on a group of friends in their mid-twenties to early thirties. The entire cast
gives stellar performances behaving as a well-oiled machine, as if breathing in
unison. Worthy of note is Arwa Gouda who plays Layla. Layla is the owner of a
motorcycle agency and wife of an escaped rich-daddy’s-boy responsible for a hit
and run accident. Although not new to the small or big screen, Gouda has never
seemed so natural and confident in front of the camera. Her piercing eyes lend
amazing strength to her sincere and restrained performance, one that stands out
from an already superb collection of performances.
However, the breakout performance of the show is
Amir Karara’s. Not usually synonymous with thespian supremacy, Karara gives the
performance of a lifetime; a career-making one at that. Credit is due to Abu
Laban, who has managed to produce the same level of intricate and quality
performances from the entire cast. Karara plays Hossam; a good-hearted hustler
of sorts. Karara manages to be so convincing and engaging, so ’real‘; that it
draws upon all your sympathies and furies as an actively involved participant.
Also highly worthy of note are Amr Youssef and
Sherry Adel, who play Karim and Sarah, a Coptic Christian married couple facing
their own relationship demons. What makes Mowaten
X so captivating is that meticulous attention has been paid in the
storyline to give dimension to all characters. Not only are they involved in
the murder mystery of their friend; but each has a full and detailed private
life often tainted with the dark side of humanity. None of the characters are
perfect or ideal, none of the performances are exaggerated; the dialogue is
peppered with lines that may not necessarily serve the plot line, but that make
the characters extremely relatable. And in this case, credit is due to the
writing talent of Mohamed Nayer.
Mowaten X addresses issues of police brutality, business
corruption and drug use among others in a level-headed and open manner. It
celebrates the artistic freedom that TV shows now enjoy post-January 25th
revolution without being preachy or idealistic in any way. The actors seem so unaware
of the camera that watching them puts the viewer in the position of a voyeur
rather than a TV audience. This is a true, comprehensive and fast-paced
masterpiece that hooks you, gives you just a dose and leaves you in anxious
anticipation of tomorrow’s episode.