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Goodbye Solo

Director:  Ramin Bahrani
Year Released:  2008
Rating:  2.0

An artificial setup leads to a hollow conclusion: a grouchy man (Red West) arranges a deal with a cash-strapped Senegalese cab driver (Souleymane Sy Savane) to drive him to Blowing Rock, North Carolina where he seems to want to end his life (after, of course, disposing of his earthly belongings). The proto-Ebonics dialogue by Savane - lots of "yo dawg!" and "my man!" and the like - is grating and Bahrani's script has the two (more or less) tolerate each other and/or fight when he sees fit. What obligation Savane's character feels towards West's curmudgeon - aside for the desire for money - is hazy, and Bahrani is careful not to explain too much: essentially, the praise this movie's received is not in what it does say but what is, unlike 'standard' indie films, left out: the reasons for West's decision to end his life at that particular locale are purposely left out, and at the end he does exactly what he intended to do: jump off the friggin' cliff. I suppose the message is to be grateful for what you have and to never give up: it is a bittersweet Hallmark card, after all.

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