The End of the Tour (2015)

The cassette tape on the poster conjures memories of Almost Famous, which is unfortunate; it’s about literature (among other things) rather than music. Still, there are striking similarities between professions with the potential for celebrity. Accordingly, seasoned actors carry the weight of the expectations upon their characters as they wax poetic on the nature of […]

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

“Is there some reason that my coffee isn’t here? Has she died or something?” Unofficially based on real world- renowned fashion magazine editor, Anna Wintour, the fictional Miranda Priestly is as tough as they come. She’s also smart, clever and driven; the polar opposite of Andy, a homely but optimistic aspiring journalist, who somehow manages […]

Nightcrawler (2014)

Not everything that lurks in the shadows stalking its prey is a wild animal or an insect. Whether the Paparazzi are journalists or opportunists (maybe a little of both) they’re still bottom feeders. And like every other creature they need air, food and shelter to survive. There’s hardly room to criticize when their job is […]

The Pirates of Somalia (2017)

The title* of a book by (then still) wannabe journalist, Jay Bahadur, who planned to write an exposé based on a land he grew to love almost as much as his own. Most coming-of-age stories center around a young man’s sexual encounter with a seemingly exotic native from the country to which he has either been forced to travel or to where he escapes from stifling responsibilities. This film depicts a naively brave visit to a place few journalists dared to go at the time.   *“Deadly Waters” in UK/ Australia

Part of its charm is how the casting in no way caters to Hollywood’s distorted racial sensibilities by either rewriting the story to make Jay’s parents’ mixed-race marriage a Caucasian union or by hiring an unconvincing vaguely ethnic actor, who bears no resemblance to real-life, Jay Bahadur. Rather, the family dynamic is believable but casually presented as fact since it has no bearing on the plot. Another component of its charm is in capturing affection, both in actors’ natural chemistry and characters’ scripted interaction. Pay close attention, filmmakers; this is how it’s done. That it intrinsically avoids heavy-handed themes, canned/ preachy dialogue, contrived metaphors and overblown juxtapositions makes this film feel like a blast of fresh air on a steamy day in the desert.

I would be remiss to leave out any mention of countless profanities and blatant drug use that makes this unsuitable for classroom viewing and discussion. However, where home viewing is concerned, realism is lost the moment the camera flinches. Moreover, the goal is sympathy and consideration rather than pity, and certainly not stereotypes. To that end, many striking parallels can be made drawn between African Pirates and North American rappers. At the end of the day, Human Beings are more like than different, which should make international diplomatic relations less convoluted than they tend to be.

Mr. Bahadur returned home right before cargo ship, MV Maersk Alabama was taken hostage by the pirates about whom he wrote. This incident stimulated interest in his book, which took longer than expected to get published. But people soon realized his research challenged inaccurate perceptions about the pirates and their motives. Incidentally, trivia fans will appreciate how movie Jay’s host-turned-friend, who guides him through Somalia is the same actor, who portrayed the lead pirate of the aforementioned hijacking as portrayed in the 2013 movie “Captain Phillips.”