REVIEW: Samba | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Director: Olivier Nakache

Starring: Omar Sy, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Tahar Rahim

Cert: 15

Run Time: 118 mins


Occasionally I watch rom coms just to give my brain a rest, but Samba is beautifully cerebral. The constant air of potential menace gives it an edge, while a perfectly quirky performance from Charlotte Gainsbourg lends a nerdy, sexy twist to the calming presence of Omar Sy in the lead, title role.

Attempting to gain legal residence in Paris after working in a kitchen for ten years, Samba Cisse (Sy) is a Senegalese man on a mission to complete his chef’s training and earn enough money to send back to his family and create a life for himself and his uncle. Moving between a range of dead end jobs with his cheeky Latinesque pal, his slow-burning romance with fast-burning Alice (Gainsbourg) is charming and frustrating in equal measure. Featuring some truly funny moments interspersed with genuine drama and a range of emotions, this is a tale of morality, love and sorrow.

I can’t recommend this film highly enough; it is expertly written, with a great soundtrack and some fantastic aesthetics, but it is the connection between the actors that make this something really special.

Samba is now showing at the Tyneside Cinema.

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