Bombay Beach

"Excellent"

Bombay Beach Review


This startling documentary explores a part of America few even want to admit exists: a place designed as a paradise that has instead become an almost apocalyptic wasteland populated by people who have fallen out of society.

Bombay Beach is a community on the edge of the Salton Sea, just a two-hour drive from Los Angeles. But instead of a seaside holiday destination, it's now a collection of falling-down buildings and misfit residents living in the parched desert on the edge of a saltwater lake that's surrounded by dead fish.

Instead of approaching this journalistically, filmmaker Har'el explores the lives of three residents through beautifully shot and edited fly-on-the-wall footage.

Benny is the hyperactive 10-year-old of Mike and Pamela, who have a history of imprisonment on weapons charges. Even though they keep Benny on a variety of intense prescription medications, he's a lively kid who struggles to focus at school and dreams of being a firefighter. Red is long past retirement, enjoying his redneck, chain-smoking, drop-out life in Slab City, where old RVs and caravans go to die. But his severe health issues threaten to change all of this. And CeeJay is a teen football player who moved from South Central L.A. to get away from the violence and improve his chances at being spotted by an NFL scout.

With a Herzogian affection for society's outcasts, Har'el continually finds the most positive, everyday aspects of these people's lives. Benny's playful curiosity and warm family life makes up for what will clearly be a very difficult road ahead. Red's wry humour and salty friends make his waning years enjoyable. And CeeJay finds real hope in this desolate place, as well as the girlfriend he steals from a swaggering jerk.

The film is shot and edited with a sense of artistry that continually catches us off guard, mixing the surreal beauty of the landscape with nasty realism.

Plus a gorgeous musical score that includes a couple of plaintive Bob Dylan songs. This is a side of America that we rarely see on screen: these aren't working class poor, they're completely off the grid. And while the film probably would have been more powerful if it focussed solely on Red's or CeeJay's story, the portrait it paints of life at the end of the world is hauntingly important.



Bombay Beach

Facts and Figures

Run time: 80 mins

In Theaters: Friday 14th October 2011

Distributed by: Focus World

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 76%
Fresh: 26 Rotten: 8

IMDB: 7.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Alma Har'el

Producer: Alma Har'el,

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Advertisement
Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.