Goodbye Solo review

A new odd couple...

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A beautifully understated story of an unconventional friendship, the third movie from US director Ramin Bahrani (Man Push Cart) is a slow-burning charmer that builds to a climax of heartbreaking poignancy.

Solo (Souleymane Sy Savane) is a chatty Senegalese cabbie in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, enlisted by 70-year-old William (ex-stuntman and one-time Elvis bodyguard Red West) to take him to a remote mountain peak in a fortnight’s time.

Realising he’s unlikely to have a return fare afterwards, the well-meaning driver sets about chipping away at William’s gruff exterior in the hope he can steer him away from his date with destiny.

Initially resembling a vignette from Jim Jarmusch’s Night On Earth, Bahrani’s film soon expands to explore its heroes’ dreams and disappointments with humour, grace and compassion. Savane and West, meanwhile, make a marvellously odd couple, the African’s joie de vivre finding an ideal foil in the wizened old-timer’s craggy reserve.

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Freelance Writer

Neil Smith is a freelance film critic who has written for several publications, including Total Film. His bylines can be found at the BBC, Film 4 Independent, Uncut Magazine, SFX Magazine, Heat Magazine, Popcorn, and more.