Image – *(*)

Posted: November 29, 2014 in 2014, Belgium, Drama, Flanders, Social Drama, X1/2

Image has a lot of ingredients that make it a promising feature. It’s made by two Belgians of Moroccan descent and deals with the negative image building of their community in the media. It’s set in Brussels and is realistically quadrilingual.

A young female reporter working for a Flemish tv channel is making an item about the troublesome areas in Brussels where police often clash with the north african inhabitants. She gains the trust of a notorious gangster who guides her around, but is rushed by the tv channel to finish her documentary. Her mentor is a tv presenter losing viewers week after week and in search of a big scoop. A positively alternative piece on a community often scorned and neglected isn’t exactly what he wants.

Too bad the end result is disappointing. It’s unclear what the makers want to achieve with this movie. It definitely doesn’t give a more positively alternative image of the community and it doesn’t tell anything we don’t already know. It’s not thrilling and it’s not dramatic. The main character isn’t really well-developed even though she’s almost in every single shot of the movie. All we know is that she’s a semi-idealistic, somewhat naive, lost individual from rich parents who also is – from what we get to see – a terrible documentary maker. There’s nothing appealing about her. Maybe it’s the performance from the actress. Maybe it’s the directing or scripting of her character. Her presence just isn’t believable.

Nabil Mallat however, is a revelation. It’s the kind of actor that you wish to see in any kind of role, regardless of his background. Here he just does the stereotypical thing, being part tough guy, part gentle person. But he does it with little effort as if he just could have been the character. Next time this guy needs to play a role written for a typical caucasian actor.

Not all is bad. Brussels looks fascinating. The complex identity of the city is well depicted. Most of the supporting cast do an excellent job. The editing is efficient. But the story is bad. It’s predictable and pointless, everything it aspires not to be.

A missed opportunity. Makes you want to watch Au-dela De Gibraltar again, the best Belgo-Moroccan movie so far.


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