12min | Short, Drama | 05 Mar 2020 (UK) | Short
Rotten Tomatoes Rating:
Director: Aneil Karia
Writers: Aneil Karia, Riz Ahmed
Stars: Hugo Nicholson, Toby Sauerback, Riz Ahmed
IMDb summary: Riz and his family are in the middle of a typical family day in their house, whilst a far-right march plays out on the telly in the background, which eventually arrives at their front door, leading to a devastating outcome.
PLEASE BE AWARE BEFORE YOU READ ON WE ARE NOT SPOILER-FREE. THANK YOU.
Riz Ahmed’s The Long Goodbye
Some movies can really wake you up and make you take notice of things going on that you normally wouldn’t bat an eye about. Some movies give you insight and allow you to appreciate what you don’t know. That is how I felt watching Riz Ahmed’s powerful and stirring performance in The Long Goodbye. It seems particularly timely given recent events on Twitter surrounding antisemitic comments made by celebrities who should know better. Your fame doesn’t come for free. Someone worked for it, maybe it wasn’t you, but someone did. And just because you’re famous, don’t think you’re untouchable. That’s what I was thinking about until I watched this film. Now I am thinking about how blessed we are to have truly talented actors like Riz Ahmed use their fame and celebrity status for something fundamental.
Raising awareness about political and racial struggles isn’t entirely new but watching it in this medium and in this short film format really packs a punch where it needs to. It’s only 12 minutes, but it’s so intense, it’ll feel like 30. This is Riz Ahmed’s The Long Goodbye.
Riz and his family are having a typical day at his house. All the girls have fun in one room, parents and younger family members in the living room and the telly is loud in the background with people shouting, even screaming above one another. It looks like a riot but not for looting. It is a rounding up of people by men who have only one goal in mind – eradication by any means possible—Riz glimpses at the telly with a flicker of acknowledgement. Still, nobody else notices at all until suddenly, the happy sounds from the household dissipate into maddened screams from the women and children as Riz pushes his family out of the rooms and away from the windows. Those men with anger in their voices and faces hidden behind masks on the telly are here and invading Riz’s family home.
This is powerful and disturbing imagery. As my partner and I watched the remaining few minutes of the film, I remember complete silence. We are usually a very vocal couple when it comes to film – we have so much to say about the thing we love. But these scenes unfolding in front of us were something else. It made us numb, and words wouldn’t come.
I remember my partner breathing in heavily as the film ended. And we still didn’t speak. A sombre mood fell over our little flat. And we didn’t talk about it once. There was nothing to say that would mean anything. No words to explain the gut-wrenching feeling this film gave us. But Riz’s voice cutting through that silence at the end was like a movement in and of itself. Riz was rapping about the scenes that unfolded and in his voice was pain and frustration and disgust and anger. It’s not like any goodbye you’ll ever hear again.
You won’t forget this feeling any time soon. As a short film, it delivers what it needs in the guise of a lightning bolt. And Riz’s rap is amazing, seriously.
Put aside 12 minutes of your time and watch this. Watch it right now.
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Freelance entertainment writer and reviewer. Visit my blog on https://thebrokenquill.com.