Limbo – Review

Rating: 12A
Cast: Amir El-Masry, Vikash Bhai, Ola Orebiyi, Kwabena Ansah
Directed by Ben Sharrock
Written by Ben Sharrock
Length: 104mins

Stuck on a remote Scottish island whilst waiting for asylum in the UK, Omar, a young, but talented musician finds the will of himself and those around him tested as they wait in desperation for a better life, whilst living in a place that seems to have no life of its own.

‘Limbo’ balances humor and tragedy with a skill that few films possess, which is made even more impressive when you consider that this is only director Ben Sharrock’s second film. At times you’ll find yourself unable to hold back your laughter, as the film delivers some hilarious moments which play on the attitudes of the islanders, as well as the hopeless “real-world” training that’s assigned to those on the island. At the same time, ‘Limbo’ delivers some eye-opening moments of sincerity which build up a dramatic tone throughout the film, turning the film into something more than just a comedy.

Ben Sharrocks’ film may be one of the most beautiful films put to screen this year, drawing from the symmetrical nature of Wes Anderson’s style and applying a darker and more hopeless tone to it. It’s through this bleak cinematography that we feel sympathetic for those stuck on the island, and it doesn’t take long for their hopes to escape become our own hope, simply through the visuals. However, later elements of the film which explore who these people were before they became stuck in this strange limbo utilise some beautiful moments of cinematography and sound, introducing themes of nostalgia and longing which contrast with the bleak nature of the world found around Omar and the other asylum seekers now. Through this, the director shows the conflict within the characters of whether they should keep pushing forward in hopes of a new life, or return to the safety of what they know. However, the safety of what they know may not be as safe as it once was, and Sharrock has created a brilliant film which meditates on this conflict.

It may not be as easy to find as our usual recommendations, with ‘Limbo’ coming and going from our big screens without too much fanfare. However, it’s a film with so much to offer, and I can safely say it’ll be near the top of my year-end list. If you get a chance, definitely give this one a watch.

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