Son of Babylon

"Extraordinary"

Son of Babylon Review


This gripping and beautifully made film explores the big issue of Iraq's 1 million missing people, most of whom are presumed dead. And an intimate story and engaging characters make the film hugely involving.

Three weeks after the fall of Saddam Hussein in April 2003, a Kurdish woman (Hussein) walks through the desert with her cheeky pre-teen grandson Ahmed (Taleeb). Finally a feisty driver picks them up, charging them a fortune to get to Baghdad. Along the way he challenges Grandma's assured faith in God and Ahmed's belief that his ex-soldier father is safe in a distant town. And their journey doesn't go as expected. They meet several people along the way, including Musa (Al-Majid), another former soldier who tries to help.

Beautifully played by the young Taleeb, Ahmed is a bright spark who drives everyone nuts with his incessant curiosity. Beneath this we feel his longing for his missing father. The relationship between Ahmed and his grandmother deepens through several small adventures, and much of their interaction is hilariously honest. But most potent is the pain we feel identifying with people who have lost loved ones and just want answers.

Most intriguing is that this isn't a typical movie about a boy in search of his father. It's more of a road movie about two generations (with a missing generation between them) traversing the remains of their culture and finding hope for the future. None of this is overtly stated, but it comes through loudly in the subtle filmmaking and fine acting. And it feels so real that we feel as if we're coated in dust like everyone on screen.

Shooting in Iraq with widescreen images and vivid ambient sound, Al-Daradji directs with a steady eye, catching the characters' personalities while making terrific use of settings that are both visually stunning and thematically harrowing. The deserted chaos is striking, as if everyone has run for cover.

And it's even more unnerving to know that we're looking at the actual aftermath of both Saddam's ruthless regime and America's heavy-handed invasion. Life goes on, but not as they knew it.



Son of Babylon

Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Run time: 100 mins

In Theaters: Friday 11th February 2011

Distributed by: Human Film

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 10

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Mohamed Al-Daradji

Producer: Atea Al-Daradji, Mohamed Al-Daradji, , Isabelle Stead

Starring: Yasser Talib as Ahmed

Also starring:

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