Goodbye Solo

“Goodbye Solo”~ May 29, 2009

How can a film be inspiring and depressing at the same time? A gregarious cabbie befriends a suicidal old man, and attempts intercession. Their life is one click above living on the streets, yet, full of beauty. The lead is played by the gorgeous & vivacious Souleymane Sy Savane.

I watched, with interest, the trailer to this film the last time I was at Filmstreams. I thought “That looks cute.” A beautiful, young, African man in America befriends an old, cracked-up white man. I couldn’t have been more wrong. This picture is anything but merely cute. It is thought provoking and poignant, lovely and deep.

For the follow-up to his critically lauded social dramas MAN PUSH CART and CHOP SHOP, Ramin Bahrani gets out of New York City and goes home to his Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Bahrani seems to love to key in on a cultural outsiders, people whom movies usually ignore. Solo (Souleymane Sy Savane) is a Senegalese taxi driver whose fare, a tired and despondent old Southerner named William (Red West), offers him big money to drive to a mountain peak, where it appears that William is going to commit suicide. A good man, Solo is disturbed by this revelation. He embarks on a mission to save William by becoming his closest friend. The director, who also edits, keeps the story clicking along, while allowing it to breathe. He manages to direct perfect, life affirming performances from Savane and West. This is destined to be one of 2009’s best.

4.5/5  See it at Filmstreams.

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