'El Gezira' is a film about a community of Upper Egypt residents living in El Gezira (the Island). They have their own set of rules, ethics and traditions. They also plant drugs and buy ... See full summary »
Four brothers committing crimes with a promise among them to stop someday. When a deal goes south, the older brother says it's enough, but the other three disagree and recklessly do business with a wanted crime lord.
This Egyptian action film is about Tito (Ahmad Al Saqa), who was sentenced to 16 years in jail after a burglary when he was a kid. After he gets out, he goes back to crime with a corrupt ... See full summary »
Two young brothers who are identical twins get separated from the orphanage. Faris is adopted by a police officer and his wife and later becomes a policeman, while Nabil is adopted by a ... See full summary »
A 30 years old Egyptian goes back to Egypt after living in America for 20 years, where he has a hard time coping with the difference, Specially after he loses his identity and all his money and becomes stuck in Egypt.
After four years since her Transit Prisoner, Sandra Nashaat is back with a new feature that, though undeniably good, is not as good as a Sandra Nashaat film should be. The Benefit (El Maslaha) stars a fair number of big names most notably Salah Abd-Allah and Nihal Anbar as well as, of course, Ahmed El Sakka and Ahmed Ezz as leading characters.
The Benefit tells the story of a long-time struggle between the police and drug dealers, a struggle that gets deeper and fiercer when it moves to the personal level. Also, the fact that the general atmosphere of the film is colored with black comedy makes it very much similar to Sheriff Arafa's The Island (El Gezira), though the latter is far better in terms of plot development, performances and Arafa's employment of black comedy.
Based on a true story, the film is shot in documentary style. Following the same style of several recent films such as Lars von Trier's Melancholia, The Benefit is filmed with a hand-held camera. I can't find another interpretation to this except to add a sense of credibility. As for the blurred picture and the unclear sound throughout the film, these I can find no explanation to.
Performances, on the other hand, varied greatly. From the very early moments of the film, we get an idea of how Ahmed Ezz's performance will be like. Ezz has the potentials to become a better actor but the problem with him is, no matter what role he's playing, he remains Ahmed Ezz – the person he plays always lack the small details which distinguish every person from the other. Almost the same could be said of Hanan Turk who has an innocent look that could be traced in all the characters she plays. Ahmed El-Sakka, on the other hand, is fascinating as Hamza, flexibly developing with the development of his round character. However, most of the good performances in the film were given by the minor characters supporting the leading one, most importantly Salah Abd-Allah, Nihal Anbar, Mohammed Faraag and Khaled Saleh.
It's a bit unclear what Nashaat wants to say in The Benefit. In the beginning, I had started to think that the film is a celebration of the courage of Egyptian policemen and perhaps an attempt to make conciliation between them and the Egyptian civilians. But as incidents unfold, the film's neutral and objective tone start to show, making it difficult to decide if Nashaat is merely telling a story that took place in real life or if she, in this way, is telling the Egyptian audiences all that they need to know about their police and leaves them to make their own judgment.
Regardless, it's unfortunate to say that I don't expect Nashaat's The Benefit to leave a print in the recent history of Egyptian cinema. However, I hope that her next feature would be as successful as Private Alexandria (which, in my opinion, is her best film so far). After all, one could not expect any less from such a great director as Nashaat is.
11 of 15 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this