Monday, November 02, 2009

"Goodbye Solo" (2008) - Movie Review

In Ramin Bahrani’s “Goodbye Solo” unspoken words are louder than spoken. Rarely comes a film which takes a life for what it is, not adding anything but true emotions and a harsher reality in a more amicable way. Goodbyes despite the likes and dislikes happens regularly. Sometime it is change of place and sometimes it is loss of a soul. In “Goodbye Solo” one man decides to do the latter and another man is desperate to work him out of it, as much a stranger could do.

Inside a taxi cab is the driver Solo (Souléymane Sy Savané) laughing because of what his new passenger offered which we missed. Because not everyday an old man named Williams (Red West) boards, offers thousand dollars to drop him off at a place on a specific date. And if the place is an aloof mountain, it is alarm bells for someone ready to call it goods in the good old Earth. Williams is the man and he looks and silences himself as a man who has lived a life with nothing but regrets.

Solo is what we call an uncontrollable man of constant representation of life as such. He cannot be brought down by snubbing words and frowns from strangers. So when Williams says the last thing is to ask questions about his travel and mainly his life, Solo is not the one to give up. He is concerned and begins to make sure he collects this new friend of his whenever he calls for cab. Williams has 2-3 weeks till the day of known destiny he has chosen on the date of October 20th arrives. In between he goes to movies suggested by the boy issuing the tickets.

Apart from driving cabs, Solo lives with his wife and step daughter Alex (Diana Franco Galindo) and aspires to be a flight attendant. He would be a great attendant but the family life of his does not allow it. He has had enough to sacrifice his dreams and moves out as his wife adds up pressure. His friends are looking for danger and he ends up at the motel he found for Williams. Williams can drive anyone away with his attitude but Solo is not like that. They begin to exist in a same room and the friendship is unspoken as I said but it is very well present. The final acknowledgment becomes a sacrifice and trust put together.

“Goodbye Solo” is a solid independent film and it bores a sense of pragmatism in its content. The director Ramin Bahrani is very adamant on the natural state of his story. A taxi cab driver who loves talking with people and an old man in the stage of so much guilt and regret that he cannot bear the sight of disappointing one more human in his life. There is no voice of committing suicide but both Williams and Solo knows. A man vacating his apartment and comes off with two suitcase and closing his bank account has only one destiny.

The actors out here are again natural to their story. The actor who plays Solo in real life worked as a flight attendant for eight years. He appears to be a person gentle in his actions and seeing the toughness of his existence with a smile even the devil cannot shy away from. He always finds humour in the smallest things and makes it the moment to the people surrounding. We never see the face of the cab office dispatcher but he sweet talks her to get details to help his friend.

“Goodbye Solo” promises a friendship between these odd two characters. One Senegalese and the other an American. Their nationality has little to do with the story but defines them who they are. Red West embodies the character of the old hard American who has lived it hard in the wrong ways possible. The promise of this friendship in other films have been used well and always lets its audience leave the theatre happily of that culmination when it ends. Here the culmination happens in the wake of an unusual sadness. Yet there is a weird closure. While it may fool as this small indie movie, this is truly a work of a genius. Ramin Bahrani does not depend on the photography or music unless it comes natural in the daily life of his soulful characters. And in “Goodbye Solo” there are two and we will not forget them.

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