Co-Writer/director Ramin Bahrani ("Chop Shop") could learn some lessons from the late John Cassavetes who eschewed having his characters speak each other's names because it's not how people talk in real life. In Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Senegalese cab driver Solo (Souleymane Sy Savane) is an effusively optimistic famliy man training to become an airline attendant when he picks up a cantankerous and depressed 70-year-old passenger named William (Red West). William contracts Solo for a thousand dollars to drive him one-way up to the mountainous Blowing Rock National Park in two weeks. William's suicidal plan is obvious, and the two-week timeline gives Solo plenty of time to befriend the old codger with an idea of changing the old man's mind before the fateful day arrives. William and Solo's step-daughter Alex (Diana Franco Galindo) speak his name with such a repetitive frequency that the all suspension of disbelief is smothered. Film critic A.O. Scott famously misnamed "Goodbye Solo" as a "Neo-neo-realist" film. Rather, the film represents a barely competent script made gripping by an inspired director and two equally talented actors. Ramin Bahrani is a promising filmmaker who needs to work much harder at crafting dialogue and complete stories, and not believe the false praise being bestowed on him by the A.O. Scotts of the world.
(Roadside Attractions) Not Rated. 91 mins. (C) (Two Stars)
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Goodbye Solo:
Well, I guess the only way you can stand out is to be different than every other critic out there (aka, the 100% on Rotten Tomatoes). -
Posted by: Marcus S. | Mar 30, 2009 11:53:12 AM
Thanks for you comment Marcus. By all means, see the film. Then ask yourself if you think it's up to par with Cassavetes' best works, which in my book are "A" "Neo-neo-realist films. As I said, Bahrani shows a lot of promise. I want to see how good he can be.
Posted by: Cole Smithey | Mar 30, 2009 12:01:12 PM
You sound like one of the haters who should be taking your issue with A.O. Scott's NEW YORK TIMES piece, not this film. This movie is well-developed, the dialogue is fine, the acting is tremendous and I felt as if I weren't watching the contrived films of today's cinema. It seems that Ramin Bahrani and his films are now the target of anyone who has issue with A.O. Scott. Get a life and go pick on someone else's film!
Posted by: lawrence | Mar 30, 2009 12:56:33 PM
Your review of Goodbye Solo was spot on. We were saying the same things about dialogue and story at dinner after the movie.
Posted by: Okiami | Jun 29, 2009 2:22:10 PM