Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cairo Time

An unplanned romance between a beautiful blonde 50+ year old Canadian woman and a somewhat younger and equally good looking Westernised Egyptian while the former is at a loose end in Cairo seems a likely synopsis for a shallow chick-flick or date movie. But Cairo Time fails to deliver. Patricia Clarkson is a good actor and she does a great impression of jet lag, but she unfortunately keeps it up for the entire film. She is also saddled with a character that is too neurotic and selfish to be engaging and her relationship with her husband doesn't make sense. He is a UN official in charge of a refugee camp in Gaza but she shows a complete lack of understanding of what that means. There are other irritating inconsistencies. At the beginning of the film she is followed and jostled by men when she walks the streets alone. Later she walks alone unmolested.

Alexander Siddig as Tareq does a reasonable job as a man comfortable both in the ways of the West and in the slower life of Egypt, but he does seem somewhat detached from both. He is conveniently without family, friends or much in the way of job commitments.

All of this might be forgiven if there was some chemistry between the lead characters. Even that is missing and the script doesn't help here. It meanders along without much direction or plot. A few unconnected things happen but don't amount to anything. This includes a promising sub-plot of Tareq's ex-girlfriend reappearing.

On the plus side Cairo looks good. The early scenes are especially good at summing up the crowds, noise, traffic and buildings. But all this is lost in later scenes when the streets are often empty, and a lot of the street noise is replaced by music. The Pyramids naturally play a big part in the film and there is some nice filming in an unnamed mosque and a bit of desert, but there are plenty of other sights in Cairo that could have been used to give viewers more of a taste for the city but in fact for much of the film it is an anonymous backdrop and could have been any large 3rd World city.

Watch trailer here.

Ian's rating 1/5 Anne's rating 2/5

No comments:

Post a Comment