Movie reviewsWest Asia

Ras Bras

Sometimes people complain about Netflix saying “I can’t find anything to watch there” and things along these lines. Although I understand many of those are just too shallow to try things different from what they usual taste is, and the obvious dislike to watch movies in their original audio with subtitles (because fuck reading, right?), I have to say I praise Netflix for the plethora of non-Western movies it offers. Unlike Disney, which makes a shitload of local content in Asia, but is not showing it in Europe, Netflix is also producing Asian movies and showing it around the world. Good for them, they got my money.

Why such an introduction? Well, today we will talk about a movie from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. If you’ve read my interview with Muhammad from the Saudi metal band Ostoraton you know, that cinema and music was allowed to be produced there only relatively recently. However, Saudi cinematographers and musicians are catching up very quickly, and Ras Bras (Head to Head), the 2023 crime comedy is the prime proof of the Saudi movie entertainment learning a lot from their counterparts abroad.

Ras Bras movie poster

The movie takes the tarantinoesque, non-linear, approach to its storytelling, however, it makes a perfect sense. So, what’s the movie about?

From the very beginning we are introduced to a dense situation – armed gangsters on the one side, two masked guys on the other. You can see very early on there will be a lot of entertaining, funny moments in this dark comedy flick (in the end, it’s a comedy first), and straight away we are starting to unveil the gordic know of the plot. OK, it’s pretty straigthforward and why not – you don’t need to get twists every two minutes to keep the audience engaged.

The plot revolves about the mistaken identity of the recently freed Saudi mob boss known as the King of Diamonds from Russian prison, who is picked up on the airport by the taxi company driver Darwish (who is, by the way, to be kicked out of the job), played by Abdulaziz Alshehri, mistaken the gangster for his taxi company boss. Added to this mix is the maintenance manager turned CEO Fayadh (Adel Radwan), who is eager to please the boss’ son (who is trying to cook the account books), the Jack of Diamonds (played by menacing, but stylish Mohammad Alqass), the gangster’s son who wants his father back and other nefarious characters….plus a beautiful Latifa (Ida Alkusay), the taxi driver’s hot girlfriend – and you have a comedy gold. Yep, I’ve said it. Just witness the exchange between the Hotel Tranquility desk clerk and our duo of unlikely heroes and you will know what I’m talking about.

Ras Bras movie still

Witty dialogues and funny situations stemming from the absurdist premise of the movie are never dull or boring, and considering what passes for a comedy movie in the Western cinema these days, I’m glad for this unusual cinematic experience.

The director Malik Nejer is to be well applauded for this movie, along with the screenwriter Abdulaziz Al-Muzaini, for whom this is his first movie credit. I just hope they will continue making movies like this one.

By the way, I’ve read the review from Radhika Menon for Global Village Space website with the final verdict of of, and I will quote, “SKIP IT. The film doesn’t satisfactorily execute on its absurdist nature due to an overstuffed plot.”

That’s why, folks, not every self-confessed movie expert is to be trusted. If you appreciate movies from different cultures and have still a healthy dose of humour in you, you’re gonna like this flick. And you can trust me on that.

Movie trailer:

Rudolf Schütz

The creative mind behind the,a fervent connoisseur of cultural treasures, with an unwavering passion for Asian and Indonesian movies and music. He is a true aficionado, driven by a desire to unearth hidden gems and shed light on the often-overlooked. From the grand stages of mainstream performances to the gritty underground scenes, Rudolf is equally at home, recognizing that every note and frame tells a unique tale. As a cultural enthusiast, Rudolf is not just an observer but a storyteller in their own right. Through his insights, analyses, and reviews, he shares the captivating narratives that ripple through Asia's music and movie scenes. Whether it's a haunting melody that resonates from Indonesia's hidden corners or a cinematic masterpiece that transports you across time, Rudolf is your trusted guide to the captivating world of cultural expressions.

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