Here’s a little indie flick to cleanse your palate (for now) of the Fast & Furious franchise. It’s Mati Diop‘s Atlantics.
Unlike Fast, this is one you more than likely won’t have heard of.
I won’t lie to you, I only watched this because multiple critics had been recommending it for the past two months, so I decided to give it a go.
Usually I do pretty well with low-budget, subtitled, indie films with a niche subject matter. But there was something about this one that I just couldn’t connect with.
Before I delve into that, I will admit that the visuals are outstanding; the colour palette that Diop opts for is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in a movie before. Take a look at the above picture for reference – the blue and green tones that glide across the characters’ skin are breathtaking, and even better when in the context of the movie.
Story-wise, the first half of this movie is a tough watch. It’s quite slow-paced, and the majority of it is purely build-up of what’s to come. As a result of that, I was really unsure of where it was going for quite some time. And suddenly… oop there it is. It became a surreal, fantastical saga that was actually kind of terrifying. I can’t actually explain what I mean by that without spoiling it for anyone, but just know that there is some pay off if you can get through the first fifty minutes. I should probably also mention that the entirety of this film is performed in the Wolof language, which is the dialect used in Senegal where this movie takes place. However, this is just as easy to look past as it is in other non-English language features, whether they be in French, Spanish or Korean, so don’t let that put you off for any reason.
I can’t take any credit away from the actors either. It is a beautifully well-performed love story, but it simply did not connect with me on the level that Portrait of a Lady on Fire did. (I promise I’ll stop referencing that movie eventually!)
It is clear to see why prestigious award bodies (Palme d’Or) and film festivals (Cannes) were impressed with Atlantics. But I wouldn’t recommend this if you’re just an average Joe looking to kill a couple of hours.
Atlantics is available to stream on Netflix UK.
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