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Limbo review

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R.          103 min



 Given the rise of war and poverty around the world refugees are sort of prominent in national news. It seems like everyone wants to help the refugees as long as they are placed in somebody else's country or neighborhood.   I'm sure there are valid pros and cons, but let me paraphrase Will Rogers (Because of nationality of Omar (Amit El-Masry) the protagonist of this film) I have never met a Syrian I didn't like. One might guess from the previews that limbo is a movie about music. Well, not really, even though Omar's granddad’s oud, a Middle Eastern music instrument, is present throughout the film.   The actual point of the film come as I see it, is a sometimes-comedic look at a group of refugees stuck on a remote Scottish island awaiting approval of their asylum status.  The underlying theme is Omar's strained relationship with his family. Mom and dad have fled Syria and settled in Istanbul while his brother has decided to stay and fight, which, as his folks tell him during frequent telephone calls, has put the siblings at odds. “Talk to your brother ", mom implores Omar during every conversation.  Another focus is on Omar's quirky friend Farhad (Vikish Bhai) who wants to become Omar's manager. He also makes friends with a chicken brings it home which scares the hell out of the African roommates. It is just strange enough to watch but there are problems as well. 1st of all the pacing is so slow with overlong close ups   that make the film hover right at the edge of a deadly bore. Not only that but probably a quarter is subtitled from which I could just barely make out what was going on. Luckily it wasn't that complicated.    Of course, getting a handle on the heavily accented English was also a chore. Not only from the foreigners but the Scots as well.  There are odd bits of humor scattered throughout the film, including the orientation at which the newcomers are coached to interact with westerners, and visits to the nearly barren grocery, which add just enough charm.  Eventually Omar's discussion with his brother and an oud concert take place either in fantasy or flashback.

 It's slow and somewhat opaque but it's hard to dislike anybody.

C for peculiarity if nothing else


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