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For once a film on the subject of smuggling refugees that is not based on a true story. My initial fear of harrowing action scenes cushioned by alternating sermons quickly vanished. What little admonishment there is can be found in a closing crawl. Director Moussa Touré is more interested in hammering out a rousing genre picture than he is constructing a soapbox. At its core, this intimate portrait of 30 Senegalese refugees trying to ford the Atlantic in a weatherworn pirogue owes a great debt to classic Hollywood's passengers-in-peril formula. The human cargo fortunate enough to eventually touch ground on Spanish shores must first overcome storms, a hysterical passenger driven slug-nutty from the confinement, and even a stowaway. Imagine Hitchcock's Lifeboat shot outside of a studio tank, aided by a GPS system, and with more tragic results. With Souleymane Seye Ndiaye, Laity Fall, Malaminé 'Yalenguen' Dramé, and Mame Astou Diallo.

Reader Rating: Three Stars

Starts Friday at the Media Arts Center Digital Gym. Click for showtimes.


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