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Review: Goodbye Solo

Optimistic cabbie meet cranky codger
By PETER KEOUGH  |  April 15, 2009
3.0 3.0 Stars


VIDEO: The trailer for Goodbye Solo

So far in his brief career, North Carolina native Ramin Bahrani has tapped into the greatest naturalist filmmakers and come back the richer. Here he evokes Abbas Kiarostami and Taste of Cherry in his tale of an irrepressibly optimistic Senegalese cab driver (Souleymane Sy Savané) working the streets of Winston-Salem.

Solo has contracted with a rusty codger William (Red West) to drive him to lofty Blowing Rock on a specific date. Suspecting suicidal intentions, the cabbie attempts to make some emotional contact with the old man in the intervening time, even as he tries to stabilize his own family and pursue his dream of becoming a flight attendant.

The performances are exhilarating in their precision, and so is the director's eye, which rises from the William Eggleston storefronts of the city to the Caspar David Friedrich–like majesty of the final destination. Although the fare's motives remain shadowy, the humanity of the driver — and Bahrani — shines through.

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