Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
The SWITCH team has fought tooth and nail to take down the top action films streaming right now!x
review, Young Ahmed, Young, Ahmed, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Idir Ben Addi, Olivier Bonnaud, Myriem Akeddiou, Victoria Bluck, Claire Bodson, Othmane Moumen, Amine Hamidou, Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Drama

LE JEUNE AHMED

★★

A DISAPPOINTMENT FROM A WORLD OF TALENT

MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Ashley Teresa
12th August 2019

Ahmed (Idir Ben Addi) is an isolated 13-year-old Belgian. He is never shown to have friends, his family life is strained, and his engagement in school leaves much to be desired. He would much rather be practicing to become what he and his teacher Imam (Othmane Moumen, ‘Yadel’) believe to be a “good” Muslim; this includes refusing to show females respect, praying constantly, and idolising his cousin (who, it is heavily implied, killed himself in the name of the Qur'an). His Arabic teacher (Myriem Akheddiou, ‘Two Days, One Night’) holds more contemporary ideas, dating across religions and believing that using popular music would be a useful way to teach young Muslims the language. Influenced by the poisonous words of his Imam, a concerning interpretation of the Qur'an and an ingrained abhorrence for his teacher’s ideals, Ahmed sets into motion a chilling plan to retaliate against his teacher.

‘Young Ahmed’ begins with its protagonist having already been radicalised by Imam, and because of this narrative choice it's hard to gauge the degree to which he has been radicalised and how much of his social isolation is a product of this (Ahmed’s mother crying and asking "What happened to you?" doesn’t have nearly enough weight to fill in the narrative gap). It is implied that Ahmed was already socially isolated and therefore much more susceptible to the influence of Imam, but it is up to the audience to make what they want of the narrative. Ahmed is never presented as a likeable character, but that doesn’t make it any less chilling watching him strategically place various sharp weapons down his sock. There’s an inherent sense of disappointment each time one of these scenes occurs that’s akin to watching each time Ewan McGregor falls back off the wagon in ‘Trainspotting’, and speaks to just how deep Imam has his hooks sunken into Ahmed.

'YOUNG AHMED' TRAILER

A number of reviews, both professional and from internet blogs, have criticised the film for pedalling an “all Muslims are bad” mentality; however, I could not disagree more. While the film’s three main Muslim characters have skewed moral compasses, there is not a single moment in this film that implies the filmmakers favour this idea. It is to the film's credit that it never once sensationalises the story when it could have been very easy to brush its characters in much less flattering, far more stereotypical strokes. Despite this, the choice to have Belgian-French directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (‘Two Days, One Night’) tackle such a complex and sensitive issue seems particularly baffling. There’s just an inherent "something" missing here that could be blamed on a number of factors, all of which stem from behind the camera, no doubt a result of the directors simply not having enough exposure to the content they are trying to explore to make anything meaningful with it.

The establishment of the film's tone works both to its advantage and to its detriment. The complete absence of a score and the story taking place within a vacuum adds to the tension, and by not bothering with excessive subplots (the only one of note is Ahmed’s concern and disdain over his mother’s drinking) there is no distraction from the heaviness of the main story. However, ‘Young Ahmed’ swings the pendulum a bit too far in the other direction. Massive jumps in the film's chronology skip moments that should be essential, such as the immediate fallout of Ahmed’s attack. The film runs at an incredibly brief 84 minutes, and while it never feels too short or too long, even just another 10 minutes of run time to flesh out the story could have done wonders. As it is, the film is incredibly reductive and, at times, it is hard to believe that this was the final cut. Perhaps this is a result of the ill-fitting directors not knowing how to handle the material. The ending is particularly baffling, a half-arsed attempt to make a character that has for the entire runtime remained insufferable and unsympathetic into someone the audience is meant to suddenly feel sorry for (it could be argued that Ahmed earns audience sympathy through pity, but it is impossible to feel anything for the character besides anger. He is inherently unlikable).

There’s just an inherent "something" missing here that could be blamed on a number of factors, all of which stem from behind the camera.

‘Young Ahmed’ was undeniably one of my most anticipated films of the Melbourne International Film Festival, and while I’m grateful for a new film by the Dardenne brothers, and while it is excellently shot and acted, I can’t help but come away from this film incredibly disappointed.

FAST FACTS
AKA: Young Ahmed
RELEASE DATE: TBA
RUN TIME: 1h 30m
CAST: Idir Ben Addi
Olivier Bonnaud
Myriem Akeddiou
Victoria Bluck
Claire Bodson
Othmane Moumen
Amine Hamidou
DIRECTORS: Jean-Pierre Dardenne
Luc Dardenne
PRODUCERS: Jean-Pierre Dardenne
Luc Dardenne
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Looking for more Melbourne International Film Festival reviews? Click here to check out our collection of this year's highlights.
Spies in Disguise - An awesome animated spy film for the whole family
TRENDINGWIN SPIES IN DISGUISEAn awesome animated spy film for the whole family
The Sophia Loren Collection: Volume One - See the screen legend like never before
TRENDINGWIN THE SOPHIA LOREN COLLECTION: VOLUME ONESee the screen legend like never before
Lockdown and Catch Up - The best action films streaming right now
TRENDINGLOCKDOWN AND CATCH UPThe best action films streaming right now
Pixar Animation, ranked - Revisiting and ranking the films of the animation powerhouse
TRENDINGPIXAR ANIMATION, RANKEDRevisiting and ranking the films of the animation powerhouse
Lockdown and Catch Up - The best family films streaming right now
TRENDINGLOCKDOWN AND CATCH UPThe best family films streaming right now
28 Days Later - ...15 years later
TRENDING28 DAYS LATER...15 years later
Vivarium - What makes a house a (horrific) home?
TRENDINGVIVARIUMWhat makes a house a (horrific) home?
Birds of Prey - I'm here to report a terrible crime: DC has saved cinema
TRENDINGBIRDS OF PREYI'm here to report a terrible crime: DC has saved cinema
How to Train Your Dragon - An animation that reached new heights
TRENDINGHOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGONAn animation that reached new heights
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
TRENDINGREVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATERThe most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
Lockdown and Catch Up - The best comedy films streaming right now
TRENDINGLOCKDOWN AND CATCH UPThe best comedy films streaming right now
Sleeping Beauty - A history of Disney's masterpiece on its 60th anniversary
TRENDINGSLEEPING BEAUTYA history of Disney's masterpiece on its 60th anniversary
Wet Woman in the Wind - A sexy struggle for conquest
TRENDINGWET WOMAN IN THE WINDA sexy struggle for conquest
Children of the Sea - Sunk by a soggy script
TRENDINGCHILDREN OF THE SEASunk by a soggy script
Samui Song - A twisty, noir-ish exploration of female identity in Thailand
TRENDINGSAMUI SONGA twisty, noir-ish exploration of female identity in Thailand
Blue - A thought-provoking underwater journey
TRENDINGBLUEA thought-provoking underwater journey
Aiyai: Wrathful Soul - Ambitious but unfocused Aussie horror
TRENDINGAIYAI: WRATHFUL SOULAmbitious but unfocused Aussie horror
Back of the Net - Misses the net, and then some
TRENDINGBACK OF THE NETMisses the net, and then some
Buffy - A 20th anniversary love letter
TRENDINGBUFFYA 20th anniversary love letter
Gallipoli - A powerful and important film remembered
TRENDINGGALLIPOLIA powerful and important film remembered
© 2011 - 2020 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us