Just finished the film Goodbye Solo. This was truly touching. A Senegalese taxi driver named Solo picks up an old guy named William who then schedules another pickup in two weeks. They continue to talk and Solo realizes that William plans to commit suicide at that time. It starts off a lot like Night on Earth by Jim Jarmusch with scenes taking place in the taxi. The fact that William is planning on committing suicide is not really a secret, and they reveal it very quietly in the opening scenes. The rest of the film takes place during those two weeks where a very odd friendship occurs. The great thing about this is the secrets of William’s life are never quite revealed and his character remains the same throughout. Solo’s jovial personality is inspiring actually. I felt like I wanted to be just like him at times. He exudes this addicting kind of confidence that I wish I had. He is selfless and so convincing. William, however, is never quite penetrable in his character, he’s tough and coarse. Solo continues to pester him with positivity, maybe as an attempt to persuade him not to end his life.
I really enjoyed this film and there are some great moments. The film never quite explains the details (thank God for that). The camera does an amazing job of capturing the right moment and holding it in the frame a little longer than most would (like Werner Herzog does). And during those shots, I’m given time to let the emotion sink in. Despite that, it is still paced rather well. The ending was fantastic, and my palms were sweating. There were moments in my mind that I said to myself “That’s perfect” as the final scenes played out. My only complaint would be that Alex, the child character, was a really overplaying the “I’m a little kid and I’m naive” too much. Had she shown a little tinge of concern, doubt or uneasiness towards the end, that would have been a good touch. But I trust the director’s decision on what he did. I’m really digging what I see from him. A friend of mine, Paul Dufrene, said that this was his favorite film of the year, and Paul rarely lets me down.
The director Ramin Bahrani is someone to look out for. I recently saw Man Push Cart and he does an amazing job with simplicity without being pretentious. Seriously, check his films out. Someone on the IMDB said that he manages to avoid all cliche plot devices that ruin films. I would agree with that statement. More please!