In This World (2003) - Rotten Tomatoes

In This World (2003)

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Critic Consensus: Using documentary-style filmmaking to blur the lines between fact and fiction. In This World tells a harrowing but important story about the plight of refugees.

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Movie Info

Michael Winterbottom's In This World is a story about Afghani refugees. Enayat (Enayatullah) and Jamal (Jamal Udin Torabi) are cousins whose family pays 20,000 dollars to a people smuggler in order to get the two to London. The film follows their difficult progress as they travel through many countries, learn to trust each other, and survive various modes of transportation. In This World was screened at the London Film Festival and won the Golden Bear at the 2003 Berlin Film Festival.

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Cast

Imran Paracha
as Travel Agent
Hiddayatullah
as Enayat's brother
Jamau
as Enayat's Father
Wakeel Khan
as Enayat's uncle
Lal Zarin
as Enayat's uncle
Ahsan Raza
as Money Changer
Mirwais Torabi
as Jamal's older brother
Amanullah Torabi
as Jamal's younger brother
Ramzan Ali
as Driver
Chaman Ali
as Driver
Xavier Jamaux
as Enayat's father
Rasheed
as Soldier Shaheen
Yaaghoob Nosraj Poor
as Kurdish father
Ghodrat Poor
as Kurdish mother
Mehdi Poor
as Kurdish baby
Ahamd Azami
as Kurdish Father
Yusef Azami
as Kurdish son
Mr. Eghdame
as Bus Driver
Mr. Dehghame
as Bus Driver
Mr. Yusuf
as Bus Driver
Ahmad Azami
as Kurdish father
Jaffa Eghbali
as 4WD driver
Mr. Delghame
as bus driver
Erham Sekizcan
as Factory Boss
Bayram Arjangi
as Truck Driver
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for In This World

All Critics (63) | Top Critics (24)

Puts something like a personal face on what is so often rendered merely as an abstract statistic: the plight of the contemporary refugee in a violently 'globalized' world.

March 5, 2004 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Although the story told is of vital importance, the manner of the telling robs us of the appropriate emotional response.

March 5, 2004 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Without an ounce of phony Hollywood uplift, Winterbottom's film cuts right to the heart.

October 23, 2003 | Rating: 3.5/4

In This World leaves us with little more than 'Tsk, tsk.'

October 15, 2003

In This World is not a facile entertainment, but a prescribed cure for one's compassion fatigue.

October 8, 2003 | Full Review…

In This World unfolds with the deceptive dispassion of a documentary, but builds with a sure sense of dramatic epic.

October 2, 2003 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for In This World

½

In This World charts the journey of two Afghan refugee brothers who leave their camp in Peshawar, Pakistan to seek a new life in London. The epic voyage of Jemal and Emayat is an archetypal refugee journey from East to West; in a film lasting just 90 minutes, director Michael Winterbottom weaves together a taut and powerful narrative, encapsulating the encounters and journeys-within-journeys that characterise refugee lives. Relatives of the two brothers give all they can to send them on their way; 'agents' of migration variously help and hinder their journey; policemen fleece them at the border crossings. From Peshawar to Sangatte (where would-be migrants to Britain crowd the French coast), the coherent and transfixing narrative brings together the names and places associated with countless refugee journeys. On Jemal and Enayat's journey there are so many glimpses of the world around - some enlightening, others mysterious - that you could watch this film again and again and be fascinated by new details each time. The early stages of the journey reveal the stunning emptiness of Central Asian landscapes, with vast plains stretching out towards impossibly far-off mountains. The journey across Asia reveals some very different - and occasionally alarming - road usage, whilst the briefest of pauses in rural Iran captures a little of the traditions involved in welcoming and sending-off guests. Among the most striking asides in this film for me is the footage of a cow being slaughtered by the halal method; just a few eye-opening moments are afforded to this episode. The film is, for all these fascinating glimpses, tightly woven around the story of Jemal and Enayat. The portrayal of their difficulties and sufferings is devastatingly powerful; the jerky, panic-stricken footage at the Turkish border and the dark and claustrophobic nightmare of the shipping container remain long and vivid in the memory. Although Winterbottom rarely lets the pace of the film slacken - indeed, he hardly has the option in such a wide-ranging and ambitious undertaking - snatches of conversation, bickering and camaraderie develop the two brothers' characters: they feel like real people. Jemal's humorous stories are particularly important in this regard, and, for me, the parodying of creation myths in these tales also suggests a much-warranted poking of fun at Western audiences, who often take a condescending interest in 'quaint' traditions. Through the use of a voice-over in the early stages of the film and recurring resort to a map to help chart the brothers' journey, Winterbottom adds overtly documentary-style elements to his film. These elements seem to me to jar with the rest of the film; there is no real need to add them to an otherwise immersive and realistic picture. On the other hand, whilst the musical score by Dario Marianelli seems jarring to begin with, it soon becomes an essential part of the film: a theme to match an exhaustingly emotional experience as we watch the migrants on their journey.

Cassandra Maples
Cassandra Maples

Super Reviewer

Revealing, studied window into people migration from Pakistan to the UK. Humbling sacrifice at every turn gets you routing for the leads and challenges you to question your views on immigration.

Gordon Anderson
Gordon Anderson

Super Reviewer

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