‘Syriana’

A long way from Lake Como

Syriana is a new film about the oil industry, Middle East politics and Beltway meddling, by Stephen Gaghan and Steven Soderbergh, the guys behind Traffic. It’s also the first major movie I’ve seen which deals with the shabby treatment of desi workers in the Middle East.

The trailer is cut like an action thriller, but it’s actually a thought-provoking, 2Å“ hour-long film on the moral ambiguity of America’s oil dependency. The thrust of the story, based on a nonfiction book called See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA’s War on Terrorism, is that the U.S. uses the CIA to set up pliant dictators in oil-producing countries instead of those who might promote democracy. A Texan oil CEO utters this similarly realpolitik line (paraphrased): ‘The Chinese economy isn’t growing as fast as it could because they can’t get enough oil. And I’m damn proud of that.’

The movie opens with a shot of desi oil workers struggling to get onto a crammed Tata bus. Later in the movie, a shady oil company merger triggers layoffs. A Sikh foreman gets on a megaphone to Pakistani workers, telling them they’ve been fired, they must surrender their badges, and unless they find another job soon they have to report to immigration within two weeks and be deported.

Casting sees desis’ brown skin as closer to the popular conception of a terrorist than light-skinned ArabsThe Urdu-speaking Pakistanis are portrayed as naïve young villagers who just want to make a better life for themselves. Two of the young men become radicalized after racist Arab security guards beat them. They end up in a madrassa limned in sympathy, in stark contrast to the unwelcoming society around them. A striking-looking Arab evangelist preys on their insecurities and inevitably turns them into C4 fodder.

If you think that’s a spoiler, you haven’t been paying attention to desi roles in the movies these days I’m noticing an odd trend at the movies. Like The War Within, they pick Pakistanis rather than Arabs to portray suicidal terrorists. It doesn’t at all fit with recent history as most Pakistan-based suicide attackers have focused on India. They don’t seem as attached to pan-Arabism as, well, Arabs, and 2nd gen idiots in London notwithstanding, they’ve got nowhere near the presence of Arabs in global terrorism. It seems more and more like casting sees desis’ brown skin as closer to the popular conception of a terrorist than light-skinned Arabs. On the other hand, perhaps this casting was driven by simple plot imperative.

Most of the desi oil workers have native accents, but the guy playing the father of one of the terrorists speaks in incredibly shaky Urdu. It made me wince every time he opened his mouth. There’s also an interesting Urdu voiceover which continues a few moments into a scene with Ms. Saving Silverman, Amanda Peet. It’s an odd mix of superbrown and ultrawhite.

The most fascinating parts of the movie aren’t the desi parts, but rather the dispiriting predicament of an oil country ruler and man of wealth. Prince Nasir (Alexander Siddig from Deep Space Nine, Kingdom of Heaven and Sammy and Rosie Get Laid) is a vital, efficient Ph.D. from Oxford with a yen to pull an Atatürk and join modernity, yet he finds himself between the Scylla and Charybdis of dynastic politics and the American penchant for military intervention. Back in Washington, a delicately shaded good-guy lawyer turns pragmatist in the Beltway crucible, preferring ‘the appearance of doing something’ over actually excising a culture of kickbacks.

The politics here are none too subtle with a group called the Committee to Liberate Iran, clearly modeled on American neocon groups like the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq and the Project for a New American Century. In the movie, the Committee to Liberate Iran is a bunch of loonies with holy fire in their eyes who attend not to the reality of fractured Middle Eastern politics, only to ideology. How very familiar.

The movie pays homage to Wall Street with a K Street hunchback raving about the virtues of corruption in the Middle East: ‘Corruption is why we win.’ Gordon Gekko lives. There’s also a visual pun on a famous scene in Titanic. Christopher Plummer is fabulous as an amoral lawyer and CIA veteran. Matt Damon surfaces again in a geopolitical movie filmed like shaky handheld verité, déjà Bourne.

In Beirut, the CIA agent played by George Clooney shows up at Hezbollah headquarters and asking for permission to assassinate someone else on their turf. Things go all pear-shaped, and he ends up in a torture room, supine and naked on the floor with thirty-five pounds of method acting blubber gilding his torso like white on a beached whale. It’s his Bridget Jones moment.

Watch the trailer. Here’s the NYT review.

The truth? You can’t handle the truth

Christmas present

I’m king of the world

Medic!

· · · · ·
South Asian contract laborers, legally bound to a single employer and subject to totalitarian social controls, make up the great mass of the population. Dubai lifestyles are attended by vast numbers of Filipina, Sri Lankan, and Indian maids, while the building boom is carried on the shoulders of an army of poorly paid Pakistanis and Indians working twelve-hour shifts, six and half days a week, in the blast-furnace desert heat… Human Rights Watch in 2003 accused the Emirates of building prosperity on “forced labor.”

Indeed, as the British Independent recently emphasized in an exposé on Dubai, “The labour market closely resembles the old indentured labour system brought to Dubai by its former colonial master, the British.” “Like their impoverished forefathers,” the paper continued, “today’s Asian workers are forced to sign themselves into virtual slavery for years when they arrive in the United Arab EmiratesAsian workers are forced to sign themselves into virtual slavery when they arrive in Dubai. Their rights disappear at the airport where recruitment agents confiscate their passports and visas to control them.”

In addition to being super-exploited, Dubai’s helots are also expected to be generally invisible. The bleak work camps on the city’s outskirts, where laborers are crowded six, eight, even twelve to a room, are not part of the official tourist image of a city of luxury without slums or poverty. In a recent visit, even the United Arab Emirate’s Minister of Labor was reported to be profoundly shocked by the squalid, almost unbearable conditions in a remote work camp maintained by a large construction contractor. Yet when the laborers attempted to form a union to win back pay and improve living conditions, they were promptly arrested.

Paradise, however, has even darker corners than the indentured-labor camps. The Russian girls at the elegant hotel bar are but the glamorous facade of a sinister sex trade built on kidnapping, slavery, and sadistic violence. Dubai — any of the hipper guidebooks will advise — is the “Bangkok of the Middle East,” populated with thousands of Russian, Armenian, Indian, and Iranian prostitutes controlled by various transnational gangs and mafias. (The city, conveniently, is also a world center for money laundering, with an estimated 10% of real estate changing hands in cash-only transactions.)… [Link]

Related posts: War as mental illness, ‘The War Within’, Two birds with one stone, Sri Lankan maids abused in Middle East

45 thoughts on “‘Syriana’

  1. Casting sees desisÂ’ brown skin as closer to the popular conception of a terrorist than light-skinned Arabs

    Following 9/11 majority of the people hassled on airports were South Asians. Well dresses and light skinned arabs pass for “white”, so the “middle eastern looking” and “terroris looking” falls squarely on the shoulders of South Asians.

    Cant make it to the movie this weekend. But I have been waiting for this movie.. next week for sure.

  2. Arabs are really full of themselves. This guy I know owns a gas station, surprisingly, and after 9/11 2 Arabs walked into the store and were talking about how good it was that Sikhs and indians were getting the brunt of all of the back lash and not Arabs. The exact quote was “..Better them then us.” Needless to say the Sikh guy I know told them to get the hell out before he puts a foot up you know what

    Now pakistani’s and indians, i.e. dude from the show Lost playing a Iraqi, are being type cast as Arabs. I guess the point is to sterotype without ignorance. If that makes sense.

  3. every time I go to the airport, I have to go through extra security screening, and they check my bags for bomb residue including my laptop and my shoes.

  4. WRT airport checks, whenever I have travelled within the country and outside I have not really been unduly hassled. As regards shoe/laptop checks, everyone in line irrespective of race/ethnicity/whatever were being checked, so does any really feel targeted here?

  5. every time I go to the airport, I have to go through extra security screening, and they check my bags for bomb residue including my laptop and my shoes.

    I fly twice a week. I was initially quite worried I would get hassled for extra security, but I’ve yet to experience it.

  6. The best thing about this post were your pic captions Manish, especially “Medic!”

    Ah, I know Abhi will appreciate it :)

    Not sure if you guys ever saw Spooks, a BBC espionage series. Originally north African Alexander Siddig played an Arab terrorist there (doctor – check, terrorist – check), very well I must add. And now he’s a prince, vah!

  7. Desis must protest like the AADC. The arab anti discrimination committee goes berzerk any time an arab is depicted unfavorably. Hollywood producers and directors are terrified of the arab lobbies.

  8. It used to be Mitzrahim; the reason they’re going with non-Arabs is probably Hollywood deniability. Many Americans can’t tell the difference between a Mexican, a Yemeni and a Punjabi; they are presented the Terrible Demon and Hollywood gets to say they aren’t talking about Arabs at the same time. One a side note, while we were in Kuwait we read the English-language “Arab Times” as often as we could, and every single issue we came across had a little box or three in the corner about a Desi suicide stopped at the last minute, with the police returning the victim to her masters amid quick talk about better treatment and unguaranteed promises of money, jewelry and vacation time. There was never a story about a follow-up check. This gave us the necessary background to grasp the horror of the recent Kuwaiti columnist who, bemoaning incompetence on the part of the kingdom’s executioners, noted that foreign workers never seem to have any trouble assembling a noose.

  9. I really have to hold my temper when I read stories about Arabs ill treating desis and the colossal racism of them towards desis. If I was ever in the vicinity when an Arab made a comment like franktank describes I dont know how I would control my anger. I have a Pakistani friend who lived in Saudi Arabia for nine months on some I.T assignment and the things he told me about how desis are treated would make your hair stand on end – and they dont treat a Pakistani Muslim much better than they treat a Hindu or Sikh of Philipino. Thats what made the guy spit even more – all this crap about Islamic brotherhood and they look at Pakistanis as scum and filth along with all the rest of the kaffirs.

    Whenever I read or hear an Arab ‘intellectual’ talking about anti-Arab racism I just want to tell him to shut the f**k up and clear the mess in his own house first.

  10. theyÂ’ve got nowhere near the presence of Arabs in global terrorism. It seems more and more like casting sees desisÂ’ brown skin as closer to the popular conception of a terrorist than light-skinned Arabs.

    probably true – easier to tell ‘us’ from ‘them’. Why? Does it matter?

  11. From my experiences in Dubai, the well-educated Arabs tend to hold Pakistani Muslims in higher regard than all Indians. In discussing the future of citizenship for non-Arabs on a current residency visa with some local Arabs, I found that most were willing to open the process up to all Pakistani Muslims but would have liked a system of rules for Indians candidates. Some harsh rules too, like proof of having been a resident of the Emirates for at least 20 years, a ton of money in the bank, etc.

    It is possible this double standard is because they see Indians as being very open to Americanization as far as culture is concerned. Also because India’s Hindu vs. Muslim tensions lead them into thinking that most Indians are against Islamic principles anyway.


    This is a killer post, Manish.

    The manual laborers you mention come from different sub-continetal countries and all sorts of religious backgrounds. They are all treated like shit by the Arabs, by the Brits, the Americans, and by the Indians and Pakistanis who own construction companies in partnerships with local sponsors. Religious and/or patriotic brotherhood is non-existent in their cases. It’s all about the money.

  12. Hats off, Manish. This is an absolutely brilliant post. I am going to watch this movie ASAP.

  13. Making the bad guys Pakistani rather than Arab probably is a way of keeping the movies from being too scary. Americans are terrified of Arabs but don’t worry much about Pakistanis. Arab terrorists would hit just too close to home. Moreover, as other comments have noted, when it comes to ethnic casting in Hollywood, one non-white’s as good as another, e.g. the Puerto Rican mulatto Rosario Dawson as a Central Asian/Persian character in Alexander.

  14. Just some food for thought…

    Some south indian states are highly economically dependent on worker reimittances from the middle east.

    Remittances are the only reason marxist Kerala hasn’t turned into Bihar.

    If they included worker remittances in the GDP calculations for the state, it would go up by 25%. This is close to the level that UAE is dependent on petrolium products.

    Remittances would also make up 3-5% of India’s overall GDP if they were included in the calculations.

    Though not part of the official figures financial institutions factor them in when assessing the indian economy.

    Also fall in worker remittances (combined with increase in oil imports) is what sparked India’s balance of payments crises in the early 90s. (it was inevitable, but would have be delayed another decade or so if remittances had increased).

  15. Also to those complaining about Arabs treating Indians badly.

    Have a look at how badly ‘undocumented’ Bangaladeshi migrants are treated in India’s booming construction industry.

    Calling Arabs arrogant is being hypocritical.

  16. New movie out called “Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World”. Its by Mell Brooks and its about the US government looking to find out what makes radical Muslims who hate the U.S. laugh.

    Guess where the radical Muslims who terrorize and hate America are? The middle east? No!! Its set in the hub of terrorism directed towards America, INDIA!!!!

    This just supports the theory that Arabs scare Hollywood to much so Indians are the natural replacement to them.

    I know this is supposed to be a comedy, but come onnnnn.

    here’s a link to the trailer: http://www.apple.com/trailers/warner_independent_pictures/lookingforcomedyinthemuslimworld/trailer1/

  17. Brilliant post, now I am very intrigued about this movie.

    the guy playing the father of one of the terrorists speaks in incredibly shaky Urdu.

    AFAIK, a large number of Pakistanis do not speak Urdu or atleast that’s not their first language. So not being fluent in Urdu wouldn’t be a wrong characterization.

  18. Nice post Manish. I’ve been looking forward to seeing this movie. I guess using darker-skinned people to play the baddies or the Arabs reinforces “us vs. them”. They’re darker so they clearly are the other. If they’d used very fair-skinned actors it might’ve helped to shatter some misconceptions but like what has already been mentioned it risks tension and confusion. Oh well..either way I can’t wait to see this film, but it’s still in queue behind Harry Potter.

  19. I agree with Epoch…

    As an indian who was born and grew up in Africa, I have seen indians mistreating and brutalizing Africans. By getting all fired up about the way Arabs, Brits, Americans etc etc treat asians we do nothing to really face the problem.

    No single ethnicity is innocent. While some ethnicities dwell on religious doctrines that preach superiority, others use their education or financial power to justify mistreatment. It happens everywhere. Don’t get me wrong..I am not saying that what happens in Saudia or the middle east in general is okay. All I am saying is that we need to look in our own back yard as well. How can everyone work together and stop this epidemic?

  20. That’s a strange review– this observation points out White’s own juvenileness, not the filmmakers:

    He gives himself away in the torture scene where Clooney is saved from a fatal Abu Ghraib payback by the last-minute arrival of an Imam named Said Hashimi—guilt-titillated viewers are meant to get high on the Imam’s funny weed name.

    There was nothing in the movie making fun of the name. He’s projecting.

  21. Post no.17 ..Epoch

    Have a look at how badly ‘undocumented’ Bangaladeshi migrants are treated in India’s booming construction industry.

    Where did you get that piece of information from ?Could you post a link ?

  22. Manish wrote: the guy playing the father of one of the terrorists speaks in incredibly shaky Urdu.

    In my experience, many Pakistani labourers in the Gulf speak incredibly shaky Urdu — but they speak excellent Punjabi or Pushto. Some Indians speak atrocious Hindi, but their Tamil is better than mine!

    And I agree with the commentors above that any anti-Arab outrage about treatment of browns in the Gulf is understandable, but misplaced. Rich desis participate in the exploitation of uneducated desi labourers as much as rich Arabs. We’ve had this conversation here before.

  23. Where did you get that piece of information from ?Could you post a link ?

    Here’s an article the talks about bangladeshi construction workers in India.

    Though, I should point out that construction workers in India are treated like shit wherever they are from. Scenes like this are commonplace in the faster developing parts of India. Note the nice modern architecture being built by people with no shoes, safety equpment etc.

    When migrants from Bangladesh, or Bihar or one of the poorer states go to work in the ‘richer’ states and face a lot of resentment from the locals.

    Though in the case of Bangladeshi migrants they face additional problems because they get scapegoated for a lot of crap (terrorism, al queda etc…) by the Hindu fundies, although overall I think most Indians have a positive opinion of Bangladesh and Bengali culture.


    I think economically desperate migrants get treated like crap everywhere. The key to better treatment of the desis outside desiland lies in the economic prosperity of desiland.

  24. This one is on my “Must Watch” list. Unfortunately, the reviews aren’t encouraging…Could the man who wrote “Traffic” have messed it up this bad???

  25. Epoch,

    how badly ‘undocumented’ Bangaladeshi migrants are treated in India’s booming construction industry

    When did we go from discussing the treatment of legal workers in Arab countries to comparing it with the treatment of illegal immigrants in India?

    Bangladeshis should be content that they are (not yet) facing mass deportation out of India. There are enough poor Indians who find it difficult to get work in any industry. So, why does India really need the Bangladeshis?

    Note the nice modern architecture being built by people with no shoes, safety equpment etc.

    True. But construction related accidents are rare in India. IMO, child-labour is a bigger problem in the construction industry. Heck, I see small 10 year old kids walking along the edge on the 17th floor of a to-be-skyscraper, with cement/brick on their heads!!

    Though in the case of Bangladeshi migrants they face additional problems because they get scapegoated for a lot of crap (terrorism, al queda etc…) by the Hindu fundies

    Actually, the arch-rival of Hindu fundies, Bengali Communists, are now talking about links between terrorism and Bangla labourers. Politicans across the spectrum are waking up to this.

    The labourers you saw in photos probably are very happy to get that job. Without it, they will probably have starved in their villages.

    M. Nam

  26. As someone else pointed out – its good to see that Paul Krugman was given the chance to star in a movie acting alongside Matt Damon.

  27. Americans are terrified of Arabs but don’t worry much about Pakistanis.

    HAHA, yeah right!

  28. Not seen SYRIANA but one of my friends is in da film playing one of the Migrant workers. You’re right to point out that this is the first time that our presence as indentured labour in da Middle East is being depicted in a mainstream film. Still a long way to go as even our own film makers dare not touch so as not to offend, but these issues need to be tackled. SYRIANA out stateside and in UK in March 2006

  29. I like this movie because it shows the state of the people in dubai who actually make the place work. The reason you have shiny polished floors in the Burj or some mall is because, a 22 year old married worker from back in India or Pakistan with a BA spent his entire day doing it and then goes back to his 6 people per room compound to sleep. In these worker camps pakistani’s share rooms with indians etc no one really cares and there is some brotherhood. I still remember the old days when all of them used to huddle around the tv at 11pm on thursday to watch the one indian movie that was shown every week. Even documentatires on National Geographic about Dubai totally ignore the migrant workers who make the place tick. Even world statistics, claim the local traditions of the place. What about all the other traditions of the other 90% of the people ? Interestingly the shots of the camp is an area called Jabel-Ali gardens where my home is. Arab employers give ther 12 year old kids 500 dirham notes (about $100) but refuse to pay their workers the 500 dirham/month for months in a row. These workers spend entire lifetimes away from their families and are unable to even reliably send money back home for their wives and children every month. I do not live in the false-paradise of Dubai anymore, but my folks do. True things are no better in India. Children are exploited etc. I can draw no conclusion. I sometimes feel that “humanity is a luxury only the rich can indulge in”. I also accept that Indian employers in Dubai also do the same. However, one must realize that the Indian employer can only pay what the arabs are willing to pay him. Unfortunately, there are just far too many waiting to undercut. This may be solved by some amount of “unionisation”. Utter the word “union”, “strike” and you will be arrested, beaten up and sent back.

  30. I just want to say that I just came back from Syriana and it was really, really good. The ending was slightly over the top, but other than it was an astonishingly realistic cinematic compression of a slice of Americana few people are acquainted with. Made me want to go read Blowback. . .

  31. Hi All,

    Well i guess you all hate me, as im one of those evil light skinned arabs that are imorally hurting south asians. Sorry for the nasty culture but it could be worse you could be a black immigrant that gets eternal discrimination. I stumbled on here by accident about syriana thinking theyd cast south asians as arabs again whih annoys me cause when i meet an american they say i dont look like an arab, expecting me to look like a pakistani cabbie, and saying im lying? I pity south asians after 9/11 but dont forget even blacks and italians and some irish were attacked too. people are trying to stereotype our look but were basically eastern mediterranean looking, my mom for example is a blonde. I think clooney’s experience in the middle east lets him know what arabs really look like. Not to mention how clooney has morphed into a lebanese looking cleric! LOL!

  32. however, as an arab, born and raised in abu dhabi, lived there for 13 years, and often returning for vacations, i have to say one thing: to all the indians, pakistanis, bangladeshi workers, for all the sri lanken, indonesian and filipina maids, for all the cheap labourers, for all the ‘working’ class of dubai: if you dont like it, leave and go back home

    So if all Emirati students in the US are treated just like the poor migrants are treated in the US, would you still have the rather cavalier answer of ‘ if you dont like it, leave and go back home

    I guess the moderators removed my other respone which I thought was more appropriate :(

  33. Hmm, Looks like I’ve started stirring the pot on this topic. It is albeit easy to say “if you do not like it, go home”, which is a phrase you take sanctuary in. It is very comforting to each other (emiratis) when one just shrugs their shoulder and says “well of course if they dont like it, they can go home, they are much better off here”,… than they would be in India and Pakistan or back in Iran or the West Bank. I would have a problem, if anyone including Emirati’s are treated in this manner here in the US, and yes it happens somewhat to migrant workers from Mexico. You think I like the way Indians treat their black employess in Kenya, South Africa etc ? It is even worse than the Gulf, because this is happening to the blacks in their own country! I guess Idi Amin in Uganda did the right thing. Atleast here in the US, there is a mechanism to fix it, what ever that might be. No matter who you are, even if you are an illeagel immigrant, you have rights, the immigrant’s son, if born here, is bonafied American, if born up north, a bonafied Yankee. Heck, I’ve only been in the US about 9 years and I feel the freedom here. Just by being here you actaully feel you want to be American with all your loyalty to it. The sympathy you have for yourself regarding being singled out for searches at airports etc. I am probably not too many shades of brown from you. I would be getting the same treatment as you would I not ? Being singled-out is not as bad as you think. Atleast here, the americans attempt to treat everyone equally by searching even old, nice irish looking people. They set a rule and apply it to all, once you are in the country. In my opinion guys who look like me (and you) should be singled-out. This will result in more effective use of resources. I have been taught well to take this treatment in Dubai. I really mean that searches should be more targeted and am not just saying it so that I can get my phrase in about Dubai.

    My experience in Dubai has been that, I get wound up at being treated like vermin (perhaps you guys think we are). Perhaps I would be less wound up if everyone including Europeans/Americans got treated the same way. However, the select maltreatment of people who really have no choice but to be there in Dubai is most disappointing. The air of arrogance will never go. There are a significant few that are very polite, cultured and a great pleasure to deal with. It is at these times I am most conflicted about my opinions. Yes, I suppose I did take your advice long before you gave it, I got up and left. But then, not everybody has that choice.

  34. Wow. I really love the conversation going on here. Thanks for this post. I actually very much enjoyed Syriana, for many reasons, including the way it presents a very nicely packaged story woven from troubling geopolitical realities. But was anyone else as impressed as I was that they actually made a genuine attempt at getting the languages down? Most American movies will show non-Americans speaking to each other in accented and bad English, for example. Here we have people speaking Farsi, French, Urdu, and Arabic. Even George Clooney! Might go over the heads of most American viewers but I sure appreciated it.

  35. I watched syrianna last night and i came back unimpressed. All it showed was hollywood has a lot of money and they can find actors with diverse language background and wait for the star to add weight and get his lines and accent straight. But apart from that there was a lot of nonsense. Terrorists generaly are NOT poor. Pakistanis migrants in gulf may be treated badly but not as bad as indian, nepali, SL, phillipino, and even bangladeshi. When pakistanis engage in terrorist acts its against india and us. Egyptians dont train pakistani migrant workers do become terrorists. training camps are for the most part in pakistan(some were in afghanistan) where other nationalities have been trained. The US has meddleed in middle east politics but as much in recent years. The oil companies are not the only thing keeping them down. The justice system in US is not perfect but i dont buy the depection of that much curroption.

  36. Good to see you all reviewing the movie and congratulating it on showing how labour is… but at which point in the movie do they actually refer to it as Dubai? It’s Persian Gulf all the way through. Also, the labourers are a simple gentle people… not crazy radicalists that would go blow something up or hurt innicent people. Further, what is with the whole “purity of my soul” speech all about? Also, the “corruption” dialouge was really lame.

    I was born and raised in Dubai in a family who was reminded every day that if we did not do this or that or if we were to behave like whatever then we would be kicked out of the country etc. We were constantly told how the country was doing us a favor by employing my parents. Money is great, sure, it buys me things I want or need but it shouldn’t be used to dictate the social status of a person. My father left Pakistan for Dubai after his first born died due to a lack of appropriate medical facilities. But he didn’t go there to brown nose or kiss anyone’s behind, and espeically not be spoken down to.

    Regarding the accent of the kid’s father I can understand what you mean. It did seem broken and maybe the choice was made to make him look simple. However he really did not seem old enough to actually be the kids father… or related to him at all for that matter.

    I’d give this movie a 7/10 only cause the Dubai government did allow them to shoot there and show some form of reality. However script wise it really lacked and the message to be delivered is rather vague.

    Just another opinion, friends

    I heard Sheikh Maktoum just passed away, my condolences to the family.