The review of Re dell’ombra, a French film set in the Parisian suburbs whose protagonist is a blind young man in contrast with his half-brother, a criminal leader. On Netflix.
Adama grew up in a troubled family, with a half-brother and younger sister, in one of the suburbs of Paris. In fact, the father decided to take two wives, the second many years after the first, and coexistence between the women was difficult right from the start, a situation which then also affected his children. When he was just a boy Adama was hit by a car and as a result of his injuries he lost his sight; however, he didn’t lose heart and transformed his blindness into his strength.
As we tell you in the review of Shadow king, the neighborhood where he lives is the scene of the heated fight between two rival gangs, one of which sees his brother Ibrahim as its leader, who does not hesitate to use the hard way to gain respect. However, when, following his father’s death, he decides to involve Adama in his shady dealings – while the latter would like to stay out of it and lead an honest life – the situation takes an unexpected turn and the family ties are likely to fall apart once and for all. all.
Brother against brother
On paper it possessed Shakespearean echoes, adapted to a modern context in one of the “hottest” territories in the world from a social point of view, namely that of original suburb. Suburb areas now enslaved by crime, where second and third generation immigrants lay down the law in a complex and difficult context, where even the forces of order are afraid to act for fear of being attacked. A no-man’s-land which was precisely the ideal background for this story which sees at the center of the story the duel between these two half-brothers, the same father but different mothers, who have lived since their childhood – through no fault of their own – a situation of constant domestic warfare. A tension given by the man’s choice to have two wives and which has unleashed a series of jealousies and resentments that has continued until today and which takes a further dark turn after the death of the parent.
Athena, the review: Le banlieue by Romain Gavras between visual fury and Greek choirs
Matter of looks
The blindness of the protagonist could suggest, stuck in a typically genre perspective, suggestions to the Zatoichi, the legendary blind warrior played by Kateshi Kitano among others. But in Re dell’ombra it was instead preferred to opt for dynamics from thriller moderno with forced melodramatic grafts, so much so that at a certain point the unexpected return of sight paves the way for further subterfuges and deceptions in the management of the skein, unfortunately ill-exploited by a confused and imprecise script, which takes away the charm of the characters and drags the events wearily until the predictable epilogue. Phrases made in series, from “your enemy’s enemy is your friend” to pure psychological slogans of the caliber of “turn weaknesses into your strength“, are the emblem of a narration conceived on stereotypes and clichés, too helpless to be compelling even in the lackluster action dynamics, also full of improbableness and clichés.
A tragedy in rap time
The setting does not bring out that sense of constant danger and the dynamics related to the harshness of living in areas so subjugated to crime, with gangs that face each other with no holds barred leaving a long trail of corpses on the street, are weakened in the bud by a cold and anonymous staging, both inside the dilapidated buildings of the districts or outdoors, so much so that the final “showdown” is a very forced ploy to conclude the film in one way or another. The cast is equally dull and the whole operation appears as a kind of vehicle for the actor’s ambitions rap Kaaris, a controversial past not stingy with criminal convictions, here in the guise of the villain as well as author of the original idea behind the film. Precisely in the characterization at the extremes of the two antagonistic brothers – complete with voodoo practices to peep out – lies the emblem of an involuntarily caricatured screenplay, which collapses disastrously under the weight of its own ambitions.
Blinded following an accident, Adama grows up in one of the Parisian banlieues and remains unwillingly involved in the shady dealings of his stepbrother, at the head of a criminal gang: it will be the beginning of the end for a family already marked by divisions and grudges. As we told you in the review of King of the shadow, we are faced with a drama set in a difficult context where a showdown takes place between two “half brothers”, the first of whom has to live with his handicap every day up to the twist that should revolutionize the narrative coordinates. It’s a pity that the film doesn’t offer real surprises and the insistent (sti)te melodramatic suggestions fall on deaf ears, between banal and forced solutions that go hand in hand with the lackluster staging.
Because we like it
- The limited duration is an advantage, as the ideas are already exhausted after the first half hour.
- An improbable script in its melodramatic twists and forced grafting of black magic.
- The cast doesn’t excel at highly formulaic characters.
- Tension at zero degree even in the most agitated phases.