Verdict: A gripping film that takes you on a turbulent ride.
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The vast, deep, and majestic ocean can be breathtaking as well as all-consuming. Atlantics is a film that uses the ocean to bind its story together. This award-winning film is Mati Diop’s feature directorial debut. Fun fact: Diop made history with Atlantics at Cannes, as she’s the first black female director to be in contention for the festival’s highest prize, the Palme d’Or.
What’s Atlantics About:
This film takes place in Dakar, a city that lies along the Atlantic coast. The movie opens with frustrated construction workers who have worked on a futuristic and outrageously large tower and have not been paid for months on end. One of the construction workers named Souleiman (Ibrahima Traoré) finds the first opportunity to sneak away and meet his lover Ada (Mame Bineta Sane). Souleiman and Ada part ways from their secret rendezvous with the hope of meeting again that night. However, that glimmer of hope is lost when Ada finds out that Souleiman has left the country by sea in search of a better job opportunity. Not only that, Ada is left with no choice but to marry Omar (Babacar Sylla), a wealthy man chosen by her family.
The dreamy cinematography of Atlantics is simply mesmerizing as it draws you in and keeps you anchored throughout. The camera keeps coming back to the Atlantic ocean, where the waters assert a calming yet threatening presence, one that can’t be ignored. The plot of the film is not predictable. In fact, just when you think you know where the story is heading, you will be surprised. The film takes an unexpected turn in the second half where we see unusual and supernatural things occurring. This strange second half has a unique way of tying the story together in order to highlight issues of labor exploitation, gentrification, and a deeply rooted patriarchal culture.
What Could’ve Been Better:
Atlantics is not a straightforward film. The second half may seem a little strange and it could take you a while to fully grasp what is going on.
Why You Should Watch:
Atlantics is a well-made film filled with suspense that has the ability to keep you hooked until the end. This film makes for a great weekend watch and we recommend you add it to your must-watch list.