Thursday, January 30, 2014

Cairo Time (2009) [PG] ****

Juliette Grant (Patricia Clarkson) travels to Cairo, Egypt to meet her husband Mark (Tom McCamus), a U.N. peace worker running a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. When Mark's exit from Gaza is delayed, good friend and former co-worker Tareq (Alexander Siddig) meets Juliette at the airport and escorts her to her hotel. Mark's continued absence provides Tareq with an opportunity to act as Juliette's guide to Cairo, and inevitably a subtle attraction develops between the two.

Writer and director Ruba Nadda may be critically acclaimed, but this is not one of her best efforts. Her screenplay lacks originality, and the film's pacing can generously be described as measured. But the worst flaw is casting. When this film was shot, Patricia Clarkson was fifty, six years older than Alexander Siddig. There is virtually no romantic chemistry between the two leads, so their attraction is not believable (in other words, this is not Julie Christie and Omar Sharif in Dr. Zhivago). We are left with an interesting travelogue of modern-day Cairo, including some lovely photography of the city, the Nile River, the Pyramids at Giza and various marketplaces, mosques and coffee shops, as well as a haunting musical score. If slow-moving, PG-rated, romantic dramas, set in the Middle East appeal to you, then Cairo Time is your kind of film; otherwise I would pass. 

Labels: cross-cultural, drama, romance    
Internet Movie Database    
Metacritic 67/100    
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=68, viewers=66)    

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