In this current state of cinema where Superheroes, remakes and mind numbing romantic comedies plot to overtake the box office every weekend; it’s refreshing to see a film that has heart and honestly cuts to the core of friendship and humanity.
Goodbye Solo is director Ramin Barhini’s genuine look into the life of two men who bring new definition to the term “unlikely friendship”. William played by Red West, is a cantankerous old timer from the south who has deeply hidden secrets and wants to be left alone. Newcomer Souleymane Sy Savane portrays Solo, a Senegalese cab driver who has transplanted to Winston Salem, North Carolina to try and make a better life for himself and his family. When William enters Solo’s cab with a no questions asked high paying proposition of taking him to a remote location in two weeks time; the good natured cabbie’s curiosity gets the best of him. What follows, is a life altering journey that neither man could have predicted.
Taking place in a small town, this film convincingly conveys both gritty realism and uncluttered social simplicity. While the two main characters take up most of the screen time, you won’t mind, because both give outstanding performances. Solo’s infectious spirit and disarming charm are something that we rarely see enough of in today’s society, and reminds us of what truly tugs at the heart of the American dream. Close to the end of the film there is a gut wrenching look shared by both William and Solo that speaks in paragraphs what words cannot say. Proving once again that great storytelling doesn’t need to be costly, just truthful.
The question that constantly hovers over the story is remarkably simple but at the same time complex. How much are you willing to help out a friend, and where do you draw the line? While the film may or may not end with some unanswered questions, its direction is clear and though provoking.
It’s truly a shame that the majority of moviegoers won’t be able to see this film at the local cineplex because of it’s small release. Take my advice, go see Crank 2 and Sate of Play another time. Answering questions that mainstream cinema often doesn’t care to ask, Goodbye Solo is easily on the best films of this year and should be an immediate front runner for Oscar contention.