ARTHUR RAMBO (#TIFF21)
Rabah Nait Oufella delivers a mesmerizing performance as a polarizing young writer in a film that challenges viewers to reflect on their own actions, beliefs, and intentions.
When Karim (Oufella) is outed for provocative comments made online as a teenager, his newfound success is thrown into jeopardy as society seeks to hold him accountable. Arthur Rambo is a fascinating look at the impact our words can have, especially when they’re smattered across the internet. The film wrestles with whether Karim actually believes what he had written in the past, or if it was just for social clout, never quite landing on a clear answer. The reach of his polarizing words, however, in invigorating the divide amongst societal views (especially with the youth) is depicted with startling accuracy. Everything is presented through rough filming that takes you into the moments, from a party to a lonesome room for reflection; the viewer is along for the ride.
Director Laurent Cantet also explores the intersection of being French and Arab, bringing to light discriminatory views and the unfortunate way that one person’s actions can reinvigorate preconceived generalizations about a group of people. Arthur Rambo is a challenging watch with Oufella’s Karim a divisive figure who can be difficult to emphasize with. The film is a thought-provoking adventure in uneasiness that serves as a showcase for the young talents of Oufella, an international star to watch.