Saloum @ The Grand Illusion
Not your average Western 🤠
Published August 30, 2022
Plays from Sept 16-29
What if I told you there was a Senegalese Spaghetti Western action horror crime thriller? The Grand Illusion has you covered with Saloum, a wild genre hybrid that racked up accolades on the film festival circuit and is now making its way into arthouse theaters primed for its blend of thrills, chills, and African-Caribbean folklore.
It’s 2003, and a trio of mercenaries known as Bangui’s Hyenas have just escaped from Guinea-Bissau with a bounty in tow: a Mexican drug dealer and his gold stash. But when their plane is shot down in the coastal Sine-Saloum Delta, hundreds of kilometers from their Dakar destination, they must lay low and figure out their next course of action. As they make good with the locals at a holiday retreat, something from the past haunts them…something spoooooooky.
It’s a lot to pack into 80 minutes, and that’s what makes the film so alluring; it’s not so much channel-surfing as a Fast & Furious style nitro boost every 15 minutes or so until the movie careens into the end credits. It’s an exhilarating exercise in excess from Congolese director Jean Luc Herbulot (Netflix’s paranormal police procedural Sakho & Mangane), and not really like anything else out in theaters this year.
(Full disclosure: I volunteer at the Grand Illusion. It’s 100% run by volunteers, and everyone should volunteer there.)