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Saturday, February 23, 2013

"Cairo Time": Inept and Inert, A Criminal Waste of Talent

"Cairo Time" is inept and inert, a criminal waste of talent and material. Alexander Siddig is handsome and charismatic as Tareq, an Egyptian café owner who shepherds a married American tourist, Juliette, (Patricia Clarkson) around Cairo. Patricia Clarkson is beautiful and wears her many dresses well.

The film's publicity compares it to "Brief Encounter." Not a chance. There is no chemistry between Tareq and Juliette. This is the fault of Ruba Nadda's lifeless script and direction so inert you wonder if she has fallen asleep behind the camera and the actors are too polite to wake her.

There are shots of the pyramids. There are scenes where characters stroll through an exotic bazaar, smoke hookahs, and dance at a wedding. There is a scene where men harass Juliette on the street. Juliette almost seems to like it; this takes on an ugly tone in the wake of the notorious Tahrir Square assault on Lara Logan. There is an entirely gratuitous scene that depicts Israelis in a negative way. Remarkable, because the film has no plot to speak of, but the director managed to work in her prejudices. These scenes ramble without reaching any point. There is zero dramatic tension. You don't wonder what's going to happen next – you pretty much know that *nothing* is going to happen next.

"Cairo Time" is an extraordinary waste of talent and material. Alexander Siddig is a charismatic star. I wish he had been given something, anything, to do. There is so much potential in the material. Say something about a potential romance between a Muslim man and an American woman. Say something about the potential of extramarital love. Say something at all! The film never does.


  1. "Patricia Clarkson is beautiful and wears her many dresses well".

    Yes! Brilliant. That sentence alone tells me all I need to know about this movie.

  2. Thank you Sue. You might like it. It's pretty. The only problem is nothing happens.

    I really loved the male lead and would love to see him in a real movie.