Mosallam has a good feel for the rhythms of conversations that are filled with expository dialogue and monologues—a tricky balance, not easy to pull off—and the performers are appealing and don't overdo things. Sleiman doesn't make the mistake of playing his character as a bland "Everyman" scrubbed clean of eccentricity. The character can be neurotic and a bit manic at times, and when emotions flare, the hero's delivery has hints of Nicolas Cage kookiness. And the movie doesn't make the mistake of turning Kal into a pinup for some sort of abstract "all-American" type, even though the hero initially is attracted to him for those reasons. He's in recovery and has a traumatic family background that comes into play.
Nigeria makes more movies every year than the US.
"Amélie." Audrey Tautou doesn't know how to skip stones; the stone-skipping scenes were made with special effects.
There's no tour-de-force filmmaking or acting here, just skilled professionals taking a familiar template and doing something fresh with it. This is a movie that proves you don't have to reinvent the wheel to build a new road.
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