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:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Advertisement
Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Passengers Movie Review

Passengers Movie Review

Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels...

Neruda Movie Review

Neruda Movie Review

Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning...

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

Narrated by Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens), this documentary is one of the most gripping...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.