Naga 2023 movie review

In the lead role, Adwa Bader portrays Sarah, a young Saudi woman facing a strict curfew imposed by her highly conservative father when she requests permission to go shopping. However, the shopping pretext is a ruse, as Sarah has alternative plans. Instead of perusing the stores in Riyadh, she arranges a clandestine meeting with her potential suitor Saad (Yazeed Almajyul).

Saad proposes an invitation to an underground party in the desert, enticing Sarah, who agrees to attend on the condition that he ensures her return by 10 pm, the time her father expects to pick her up.

The plan begins to unravel quickly. On their way to the desert, Saad and Sarah encounter a gun-wielding man in a Jeep and an aggressive camel seeking revenge, all while dealing with the effects of intoxication.

Throughout the day, they navigate encounters with various members of Saudi society, including a cunning poet. Meanwhile, Sarah monitors the ticking clock, as the likelihood of her returning to her father on time diminishes, exacerbated by heavy traffic due to a popular football match in the city.

Meshal Al Jaser, the writer and director, infuses Naga with a sense of turbulence that threatens to spiral out of control but is expertly harnessed to take the story in surprising and entertaining directions. Adwa Bader delivers a standout performance as the rebellious Sarah, bringing both resoluteness and vulnerability to her character.

While some scenes may feel unnecessary, and the direction occasionally indulgent, these minor flaws do not overshadow the overall enjoyment of Naga. Inspired by filmmakers like Martin Scorsese, the Safdie brothers, and Quentin Tarantino, Al Jaser employs dynamic camera work, a non-linear approach, genre shifts, and surreal elements to create a distinctive and unique viewing experience.

Despite its imperfections, Naga remains thoroughly entertaining, blending humor, suspense, and creativity. Meshal Al Jaser and Adwa Bader emerge as inventive and exhilarating talents, leaving audiences excited for their future contributions to cinema.

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By acinetv