Monday, January 26, 2015

Movie Review: From A to B

I've got a confession to make: I was one of the rare few who did not fall head-over-heels in love with Ali F. Mostafa's debut feature City of Life. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad movie, not by any stretch of the imagination, but it did feel derivative of other films such as Paul Haggis' Crash & centered around characters who, besides sharing a similar backdrop, were simply un-relatable. So with that said I approached Mostafa's sophomore feature with great trepidation, a feeling that I would soon discover to be completely ill begotten.

From A to B centers around three estranged childhood friends; Omar (
Fadi Rifaai) Ramy (Shady Alfons) & Yousif aka Jay (Fahad Al-Butairi) who travel on a road trip from Abu Dhabi to Beirut to honor the memory of their friend Hadi, who died five years prior. In a journey that would take them through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, & Syria, the three friends face a number of trials & tribulations that would not only test their friendship, but also challenge them to grow out of their comfort zones.

Unlike City of Life, From A to B presents us with well rounded, charming, & relatable characters. This, of course, wouldn't be possible without an excellent showing by our leads, with Shady Alfons being the highlight of the featured trio, though it was
Samer Al-Masry who stole the show as the leader of a Syrian Rebel group. Another area this film scores high points in is its cinematography, with frequent Mostafa collaborator Michel Dierickx utilizing their unique locations for maximum impact. Additionally, the film supported a wicked Middle East-based soundtrack that belongs in any movie fan's collection.

Any issues? Well, a few of the side characters felt underused (I'm looking at you
Wonho Chung) some of the dialogue, especially Al-Butairi's, did feel a tad forced,  & I wasn't completely sold with Fadi Rifaai. But overall, From A to B is a commendable entry in the records of Gulf Cinema & one that deserves a lot more love than it was given thus far.

The film is currently screening in cinemas across the Gulf. Check your local listings for show times, trust me on this.

For more information, click here.

Ahmed Zayani
Instagram: @ahmedzayani85

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