Reviews

  • Nov 15, 2021

    Remarkably well crafted look at the impact of radical Islam on decent minded and pious Muslims in Mali. The horrors and corruption of this type of ideology are laid bare in a never dull picture that deserves a lot of credit.

    Remarkably well crafted look at the impact of radical Islam on decent minded and pious Muslims in Mali. The horrors and corruption of this type of ideology are laid bare in a never dull picture that deserves a lot of credit.

  • Aug 08, 2021

    One can't help but wonder if, instead of just being a really good film, Timbuktu couldn't have been a great one. Set in the arid Saharan desert in and around Timbuktu, it's a visual feast of vast expanses and rolling dunes. The story, timely and relevant, involves the arrival of Islamic fundamentalists and the imposition of their laws on those in the area, poor villagers who are simply content to eke out a meager existence from the harsh environment. While the film has its powerful moments, it sometimes feels as though it has lost its way as it introduces various storylines and a multitude of characters. Instead of focusing on one scenario (the conflict over the cow and the fishing net, for example), it tends to meander about like the winding streets of Timbuktu. It's a good film, just not a great one.

    One can't help but wonder if, instead of just being a really good film, Timbuktu couldn't have been a great one. Set in the arid Saharan desert in and around Timbuktu, it's a visual feast of vast expanses and rolling dunes. The story, timely and relevant, involves the arrival of Islamic fundamentalists and the imposition of their laws on those in the area, poor villagers who are simply content to eke out a meager existence from the harsh environment. While the film has its powerful moments, it sometimes feels as though it has lost its way as it introduces various storylines and a multitude of characters. Instead of focusing on one scenario (the conflict over the cow and the fishing net, for example), it tends to meander about like the winding streets of Timbuktu. It's a good film, just not a great one.

  • Feb 28, 2019

    There are moments in this film of real beauty and also moments where it genuinely moves you. The disparate strands never really tie together though and the unifying theme of 'aren't Jihadists mean!' isn't deep enough or nuanced enough to hang the whole film on.

    There are moments in this film of real beauty and also moments where it genuinely moves you. The disparate strands never really tie together though and the unifying theme of 'aren't Jihadists mean!' isn't deep enough or nuanced enough to hang the whole film on.

  • Dec 03, 2018

    Although it is difficult to dislike a film with such gorgeous visuals and powerful messages, I also think that, because of this elements, should have been way better. It is like it fell short of its potential. Nevertheless "Timbuktu" its a view I would recommend, because it shows realities so far from us that makes them so easy to forget.

    Although it is difficult to dislike a film with such gorgeous visuals and powerful messages, I also think that, because of this elements, should have been way better. It is like it fell short of its potential. Nevertheless "Timbuktu" its a view I would recommend, because it shows realities so far from us that makes them so easy to forget.

  • Nov 18, 2018

    I really wanted to like this movie, but unfortunately, it wasn't for me.

    I really wanted to like this movie, but unfortunately, it wasn't for me.

  • Jun 08, 2018

    To me the visual of the film is extremely insipid, savorless, amazingly dull and plainly disappointing! And in that area, someone will have to explain to me how cinematographer Sofian El Fani, who once again reveals himself as an amateur, actually did get a credit for this movie. Very rarely do we see technical challenges. The movie's visualization is so technically repetitive and mind-numbing that it makes the whole movie extremely boring (how many viewers did say they were checking their watch!). Timbuktu's stunning sandy deserts, lakes and caved houses, which should have been splendidly rendered, are regrettably reduced to being consistently filmed with the same elementary shots over and over. It could have been merely OK for a documentary (which the movie was supposed to be BTW). What makes the filming approach so tedious is that Sofian El Fani fails to convey emotions through camera angles (kind of reminded me of La vie d'Adèle where El Fani makes such an excessive use of close-ups that it becomes unbearably repetitive to the viewer). So unless there was a political move to credit Tunisian film crew members, such as El Fani, (Original Score award to Amine Bouhafa was well deserved though), there is no technical basis whatsoever for him receiving this award for best cinematography. Globally, this film probably moved Western World viewers -- that's why it actually got credited--, but it no manner does it contribute to cinema or art.

    To me the visual of the film is extremely insipid, savorless, amazingly dull and plainly disappointing! And in that area, someone will have to explain to me how cinematographer Sofian El Fani, who once again reveals himself as an amateur, actually did get a credit for this movie. Very rarely do we see technical challenges. The movie's visualization is so technically repetitive and mind-numbing that it makes the whole movie extremely boring (how many viewers did say they were checking their watch!). Timbuktu's stunning sandy deserts, lakes and caved houses, which should have been splendidly rendered, are regrettably reduced to being consistently filmed with the same elementary shots over and over. It could have been merely OK for a documentary (which the movie was supposed to be BTW). What makes the filming approach so tedious is that Sofian El Fani fails to convey emotions through camera angles (kind of reminded me of La vie d'Adèle where El Fani makes such an excessive use of close-ups that it becomes unbearably repetitive to the viewer). So unless there was a political move to credit Tunisian film crew members, such as El Fani, (Original Score award to Amine Bouhafa was well deserved though), there is no technical basis whatsoever for him receiving this award for best cinematography. Globally, this film probably moved Western World viewers -- that's why it actually got credited--, but it no manner does it contribute to cinema or art.

  • Mar 30, 2018

    As visually arresting as shatteringly startling, this Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film mustering imageries of religious oppression is a cri de coeur for the barbarous Islamic military rule at the titular city.

    As visually arresting as shatteringly startling, this Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film mustering imageries of religious oppression is a cri de coeur for the barbarous Islamic military rule at the titular city.

  • Nov 21, 2017

    Un excellent film avec une grande immersion sur la vie sous la charma sans prise de position

    Un excellent film avec une grande immersion sur la vie sous la charma sans prise de position

  • Aug 17, 2017

    Beautifully shot with some particularly powerful scenes, 'Timbuktu' is a poignant story of villagers day-to-day lives made increasingly difficult by the tyrannical Jihadists who have occupied their territory, how life and death is decided by them in a nonchalant manner, and the stifling hypocrisy of it all. The deliberately slow pace may have some viewers constantly checking their watches, and the film does seem to get lost in the magnitude of what it's trying to say, but it is, ultimately, an affecting experience that will leave some sort of impression on its audience.

    Beautifully shot with some particularly powerful scenes, 'Timbuktu' is a poignant story of villagers day-to-day lives made increasingly difficult by the tyrannical Jihadists who have occupied their territory, how life and death is decided by them in a nonchalant manner, and the stifling hypocrisy of it all. The deliberately slow pace may have some viewers constantly checking their watches, and the film does seem to get lost in the magnitude of what it's trying to say, but it is, ultimately, an affecting experience that will leave some sort of impression on its audience.

  • Jun 23, 2017

    Timbuktu tries to show the brutality of arbitrary application of sharia law through beautifully photographed scenes of characters and neighborhoods subjected to newfound and nonsensical strictures, like prohibition of music and soccer. But the value of that indictment of sharia is outweighed by the film's ambling, nearly random plot development. And the protagonist who falls victim to the jihadists himself insensibly tries to solve his property dispute with a gun, muddying the film's message. Despite its overwhelmingly positive reception among reviewers, the film leaves the viewer more with pointlessness than persuasion.

    Timbuktu tries to show the brutality of arbitrary application of sharia law through beautifully photographed scenes of characters and neighborhoods subjected to newfound and nonsensical strictures, like prohibition of music and soccer. But the value of that indictment of sharia is outweighed by the film's ambling, nearly random plot development. And the protagonist who falls victim to the jihadists himself insensibly tries to solve his property dispute with a gun, muddying the film's message. Despite its overwhelmingly positive reception among reviewers, the film leaves the viewer more with pointlessness than persuasion.