TIFF 2020: Our Review of ‘Limbo’

TIFF 2020: Our Review of ‘Limbo’

Keeping a brave face is never easy…

In a remote corner of Scotland, surrounded by gale-force winds and stormy seas, Omar and his fellow Syrian asylum seekers endure a puzzling cultural-awareness lesson from an oddball pair of locals. With little else to do while awaiting letters about their refugee status claims, Omar (Amir El-Masry) and his flatmates otherwise pass the time queuing up to hear the voices of loved ones on the island’s only payphone, or heatedly debating the nuanced relationship of Ross and Rachel from Friends.  But Omar carries the burden of leaving his home and his family as well as his brother who decided to stay and fight in the form of his grandfather’s oud, walking up and down the barren Scottish countryside not knowing what to do.

Inspired by stores from his friends in Syria, Writer/Director Ben Sharrock with Limbo gives the immigrant experience it’s most human face to date in something that is sad but allows itself to appreciate it’s “fish out of water” nature.

These men are conflicted because they HAD to leave their homeland and even the dampest and snowiest part of Scotland is better then what they had at home.  Actor Amir El-Masry gives a great performance and carries it all well as he tries to adapt to his new surroundings.

Limbo is an incredibly honest affair, because if any of us were uprooted from our homes we’d be laughing and crying in the same breath, just like these men are.

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David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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