Home Movies Reviews ‘Raven Song’ Netflix Movie Review - Motivates Us to Take a Nap

‘Raven Song’ Netflix Movie Review - Motivates Us to Take a Nap

The movie follows a hotel receptionist, who falls in love with a strange woman and disguises himself as a poet to woo her after a bleak medical diagnosis

Vikas Yadav - Thu, 20 Jul 2023 17:24:54 +0100 2240 Views
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Mohamed Al Salman's Raven Song opens with a father (Abdulaziz Almubddal) breaking tapes using a hammer. Minutes later, his son, Nasser (Asem Alawad), steps out of the house and notices brains falling down from the sky. In the next scene, Nasser is seen at a hospital, and a doctor informs him that his brain is infected with a tumor. Also, it's possible that the whole "brain falling from the sky" thing might just have been a hallucination. Then what about that scene where the father destroys the tapes? Was that, too, a hallucination? It's futile to ask questions in a film like Raven Song. The movie wants to be so "dreamy" and "abstract" that it forgets to be involving, interesting. The director thinks he's seducing us with poetic visuals, but he only sores our eyes and motivates us to take a nap.

The world of Raven Song is almost uninhabited. Nasser's workplace appears vacant, the streets are devoid of pedestrians, and the hospital seems to have only one doctor (we observe four or five of them later, but never mind). The setting looks so artificial that when we hear a customer complaining on the phone or see a group of men at an event, we feel as if Raven Song is trying to fill up empty spaces. Nasser works at The Dove Hotel, and its entrance is enveloped in blinding lights. Why? So that a woman (Kateryna Tkachenko) can look like an angel during her first appearance. Salman commits himself to such cheap tricks to impress us. He is an arty filmmaker who uses dreams as an excuse to craft illogical images. For instance, Nasser follows a lady going towards a white light while a group of women clad in black walk in the opposite direction. I won't waste my energy unearthing "deep insights" from this sequence. The audience will only make a fool out of themselves if they try to interpret this pretentious claptrap.

Raven Song has traces of comedy but suppresses the funny elements because it wants to be tasteful and precious. When a doctor silences his alarm and rolls down the carpet, you think he's about to say his prayers. However, he starts exercising on the rug. Nasser's friend, Abu Sagr (Ibrahim Khairallah), takes the clothes of a journalist (Nawaf Almhanna) and gives them to Nasser to pose for a photograph (the pictures are also taken by the journalist). At the hotel, Nasser looks at his father's photo and puts it downwards on the table. After a few seconds, he puts the frame in its original position (this tells us he's scared of his father). These scenes should have ideally tickled our funny bones, but they look dull and inert. The actors, too, appear and disappear without leaving any dent. The movie presents Tkachenko as a sublime figure, but even she evaporates from our thoughts as soon as the film ends.

A man asks Nasser about a girl's presence, and when the latter attempts to give an explanation, the man stops him and says he's fasting and wouldn't like to chat. Well, why make an inquiry if you don't want an answer? One of the scenes opens with Nasser holding up an envelope, and you think the shot is framed this way because the paper container looks "meaningful" or something when arranged in front of the camera in this particular position. Salman, after all, likes to create showy images. This is why he briefly focuses on Nasser's reflection. Anyway, after a while, you stop giving a damn and impatiently wait for the end credits to save you from this affected balderdash. Raven Song wants to be about poetry, but neither the visuals nor the dialogues register as delightful to the senses.

The ponderous conversations Nasser has with an old man leave you exhausted. In fact, the whole movie is tiring and ridiculous. Nasser's father calls him a dumb goat in the beginning, and a doctor warns Nasser he will become a dumb goat if he doesn't go ahead with the operation. What do you know, goats actually end up making an appearance! Similarly, doves are seen in the film, and what's the name of the place Nasser works at? The Dove Hotel! Go look for subtexts if you are interested. I just want to take some rest. "Whether I am hallucinating or dreaming, I like what I am seeing," says a character. Unfortunately, I cannot share this sentiment.

Final Score- [3/10]
Reviewed by - Vikas Yadav
Follow @vikasonorous on Twitter
Publisher at Midgard Times



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