In ‘Limbo’, a young Syrian musician and other refugees are seeking asylum on a remote Scottish island. The island is almost desolate and is rife with harsh weather conditions. The musician, Omar, is separated from his parents who also fled and his brother chose to stay and right in Syria. stuck on an island awaiting the fate of his asylum request, but with the harsh conditions or the night winds, and the never-ending gloom of waiting for Asylum, will he last or return home with nothing to show.
I didn’t go into this film with any expectations. In fact, I knew nothing about it going in. I was immediately struck by the Wes Anderson style the opening scene had, with two teachers dancing with awkward passion, and the comedic camera about-face showing a tightly seated group of refugees expressionless faces as they watch the sexually charged number. The comedy falls in a similar tone to this, a fish out of water comedy that can take the humor and turn it quickly into tragedy.
The acting by all the characters was phenomenal. The main character Omar being the heart of the film. He has resentment of his brother for staying in Syria, worry for his parents who are struggling financially in the area they fled to, and he’s just in this void where he cannot work to make money, but cannot go home because it’s not safe. The supporting characters all also have their motivations for why they are stranded with Omar in this worn down house.
One of the roommates, Farhad (played by Vikash Bhai) is a Freddy Mercury Idolizing kind man who insists on Omar playing his instrument, which he hasn’t since arriving. Their relationship and chemistry worked so well to give bright moments in the despair of not even having the essentials like spices and anything more than Ketchup and mustard.
I loved the uniqueness of the film being in a 4:3 aspect ratio. They are able to utilize this so well with the shots of the sweeping landscapes and show how beautiful and empty this little island is. You feel the harsh conditions as you watch Omar trudge through a blizzard of ice. The director did a great job making you empathize with the refugee experience while also seeing the quiet resilience of a refugee’s heart.
Overall, ‘Limbo’ was a good watch with some funny moments and a lovable cast of misplaced beings. With a slow paced and compelling story, I would check this out in theaters and on VOD but make sure to have subtitles on.