BFI London Film Festival: The Worthy

The Worthy
Directed by Ali F. Mostafa
Starring Mahmoud Atrash, Samer Almasri and Maisa Abd Elhadi

by Amanda Farley

Set in a dystopian future, Ali F. Mostafa’s latest feature The Worthy sees an interesting departure from his earlier work. This post-apocalyptic thriller focuses on a mismatched group of survivors led by Shauib (Samer Al Masry). After the world’s water supplies were poisoned, they took refuge in an abandoned aeroplane hangar. Here they formed their own community protected by fences and with an uncontaminated water source.

All is well until one night their world is threatened by a group of bandits. After a deadly alteration, Shauib is saved by two strangers. In thanks, he offers them safety and the chance to join the community. In return, he asks they respect his authority and rules while under his roof.

However, these strangers are not what they seem. Once their dark secret is revealed, the warehouse becomes a war zone. As one-by-one people are murdered, the group’s trust and bonds are tested. As the group shrinks, everyone is forced to question ‘who is worthy to live and to lead?’

This is an interesting offering from one of the pioneers of Emirati cinema. It’s a new genre for Mostafa, and although the setting and ambition are there, the story is lacking. Even though it’s packed full of action, there are too many moments that fall into clich√© and predictability. Characters lack depth and fail to make the emotional impact needed to give their deaths meaning or pathos. The end of the feature is where the story really takes off. As it stands for fans of this genre, there will be lots to like but little to surprise.



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