Goodbye Solo



Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 94%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 82%
IMDb Rating 7.3 10 6006

Plot summary

January 15, 2023 at 01:12 PM


Ramin Bahrani

Top cast

Red West as William
720p.BLU 720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
804.87 MB
English 2.0
25 fps
1 hr 27 min
P/S 0 / 6
839.01 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 31 min
P/S ...
1.68 GB
English 5.1
23.976 fps
1 hr 31 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Chris Knipp 9 / 10

Bringing it all back home

This third feature from Iranian-descent North Carolinian Bahrani takes a theme from Abbas Kiarostami's 'The Taste of Cherries,' of a man seeking a driver to help him commit suicide, and makes it as American and Edward Hopper as night movie ticket windows, sleazy motel rooms, road houses, cabs on call, and fractured families. Bahrani's surefooted story blends elements of Kafkaesque nightmare and shaggy dog story and, though well grounded in realistic, no-nonsense images and everyday settings, is also surrounded in mystery. What's behind this plan of William (Red West) to be driven from Winston-Salem to the windy heights of Blowing Rock? We only know that he has some sketchy relationship to a boy selling tickets at a movie theater, has sold his house, and then, helped by the cab driver, grimly moves into a cheap motel room with a few belongings.

For a driver, William has somehow gotten saddled with Solo (Souleymane Sy Savane), a friendly and garrulous Senegalese with a Mexican wife, Quiera (Carmen Leyva), and a clever little stepdaughter, Alex (Diana Franco Galindo. Quiera is pregnant with Solo's child, but they are at odds over his plan to become a flight attendant, and Solo seems half in and half out of the house. From the evening when William gives him a hundred dollars as advance on a $1,000 payment to take him to Blowing Rock on a set day, which he strongly suspects is to do away with himself, Solo refuses to let the gruff old man alone. He takes William out to play pool and drink and then sleep it off at his house. When his wife objects he moves into William's motel room for a while. He makes sure no other drivers from the W.C.C. cab company pick up William. William is trying to shut down, but Solo won't let him.

After a while you realize the focus is not so much on what will happen to William as what will happen to Solo, that Solo's own situation is shaky, mysterious, and perhaps desperate, and that you're not going to find any ultimate answers about either of the two men who are now so oddly conjoined. The key to the story is the story, and Bahrani makes excellent use of the inner and outer nature of his two principals and their checkered careers. Red West was a Marine, stuntman, and boxer, and later a bodyguard for Elvis Presley, and his face has a John Ford cowboy hero's weathered graininess. When he lights a cig and stares into space it's no act. Sy Savane is a one-time fashion model and African TV star and a Winston-Salem cab driver who was a flight attendant for an African airline. He knows the answers to the flight attendant exam Solo's studying for, except that Solo fails the interview. He is athletic and handsome and the radiance of his smile suffuses his whole face. But for all his confidence there's a sense that Solo's dodging about the edges of Winston-Salem because he has friends on the dark side, but he's still an outsider. Bahrani's previous 'Chop Shop' focused on Latino kids eeking out a living amid the competing de facto car parts dealers in the Iron Triangle of Willets Point, Queens. Here he takes it all back home, because North Carolina is where he grew up, even if he felt like an outsider. 'Goodbye, Solo' feels more securely grounded but also more open--an impression visually underlined when Solo drives Alex and William out into the softly multicolored mountainsides around Blowing Rock.

The virtue of the film is that it focuses so simply and wholeheartedly on its actors and their characters. There is no quirky Jim Jarmusch wit in the taxicab scenes, never any loss of focus on the confused urgency of Solo's and William's divergent quests. The conclusion may leave you feeling lost in uncertainty amid the fog and whirling winds of Blowing Rock. There's nothing particularly neat or tidy about this ending. But the whole movie is worth the long look William and Solo give each other before they part for the last time. This moment more than the rest of the movie conveys a sense of Bahrani's attention and curiosity--which come with a healthy awareness that he hasn't got the answers, but he has got a grip on some of the big questions by now. Though he gives us only a piece of the puzzle, his interest in new immigrants is admirably free of indie cuteness or dramatic flourishes, and the whole movie is edited with a sure and classic touch that makes this feel like the second great American movie of the year about real people, after James Gray's 'Two Lovers.'

Reviewed by rooprect 9 / 10

The American Dream vs. the American Nightmare

Two men are in a taxicab. The passenger is a scowling, angry, misanthropic old man. The cabbie is a smiling, exuberant African immigrant. In a few lines of dialogue we learn that the misanthrope wants to be taken to Blowing Rock, North Carolina on the 20th of the month. "Why?" jokes the cabbie, "You gonna jump off?" No reply. The cabbie's glowing smile disappears.

The poetry of that opening scene is only rivaled by its ability to set a powerful air of suspense that carries through the entire 91-minute film all the way until the last minute. And even though there aren't any flashy car chases, shootouts, steamy sex scenes or fantastical plot twists, "Goodbye Solo" grabs your full attention from start to finish.

The theme, beautifully set in the opening scene & fleshed out as the story progresses, centers around the duality of the American dream and the American nightmare. The cabbie, relatively new to the USA, loves life and the endless opportunities life presents. He has a job and a family, neither of which are perfect, but they make him happy nonetheless. And he genuinely loves people. The old man is bitter, alone, presumably due to a tragic family meltdown, and he just wants to be left alone. Just as the cabbie is exploring new opportunities, the old man spends his days tying up loose ends: selling his home, closing out his bank accounts, etc. Over the course of 2 weeks or so, we witness the interaction--the philosophical struggle--between these two men, and the suspense of the outcome is maintained until the film's final scene.

The acting is absolutely 1st class with both men, particularly by the main character "Solo" played by Souléymane Sy Savane in his feature debut. His way of portraying raw optimism and hope is truly worthy of the description Roger Ebert used: "a force of nature". At the same time, it's not over-the-top unbelievable like Pollyanna or some children's fantasy character. He plays an intelligent man fully aware of the struggles in life, yet he has faith in his own determination. And isn't that the key to happiness for all of us? The old man character is the antithesis and equally believable. If you've ever suffered a horrible tragedy you know that sometimes nothing can cut through. Nothing. And that's what we see here: a man so resolute in his cynicism that you'd give up on him in 10 seconds.

And so, we see the cinematic version of the age-old physics puzzle: what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?

The movie takes a quiet, measured pace with plenty of room to breathe. There are gorgeous shots of nature as well as equally haunting views of an empty downtown Winston-Salem at night. Funny, I've driven through that city scores of times on I-95 without giving it a second thought. But next time I think I'll take a small detour and visit. I also need to see this place called Blowing Rock to find out if it's real. The view from up there looks like something Count Dracula would see looking out over the misty mountains of Transylvania.

There aren't many popular films to compare this to, but I'd say if you liked the British film "Happy Go-Lucky" or the indie film "This Is Martin Bonner" or the Japanese "Shiki-Jitsu" (Ritual) or even Kurosawa's cinematic masterpiece "Ikiru" (To Live), then don't hesitate to see "Goodbye Solo".

Reviewed by howard.schumann 9 / 10

The essence of compassion, given freely with an open heart

Some people are so attached to their story that they manage to continually sabotage their aliveness and their capacity for love. Even when someone reaches out to them and challenges the skewed way in which they have constructed their world, they effectively shut them out. Ramin Bahrani's third feature, Goodbye Solo, is about William, a man clinging to his victimization act so tightly that he turns away from the only person who cares, a high-energy cab driver from Senegal who is willing to go the extra mile to tear down the wall that separates William from his fellow human beings.

Similar in narrative to Abbas Kiarostami's masterpiece A Taste of Cherry, Solo (Souléymane Sy Savané) a Senegalese immigrant living in Winston Salem, North Carolina (where the director grew up) picks up a 72-year-old Caucasian passenger named William, played by Red West, a former Marine, stuntman, boxer, and bodyguard for Elvis Presley, who Solo refers to as "Big Dog". We learn next to nothing about the cantankerous old man. He refuses to engage the gregarious Solo in conversation except to offer him $1000 to drive him to Blowing Rock, a windy mountainous area, in two weeks with the depressing implication that it will be the end of the road for him, both literally and figuratively.

Similar in theme to Mike Leigh's Poppy in Happy-Go-Lucky, Solo does not back off from his selfless display of good humor even when confronted by William's cold rejection. He maintains his optimism when studying for an exam to become a flight attendant. Solo knows where to find drugs or a sexual partner but there is no hint that he ever partakes. Eventually some of his positive attitude begins to break down barriers. William helps Solo in his studying, and allows him to move into his motel room when he runs into marital difficulties with his pregnant Mexican wife (Carmen Leyva). They go out drinking together, Solo introduces him to his stepdaughter Alex (Diana Franco Galindo), does his laundry for him, checks his medicine stash to see if he has some hidden terminal illness, and even searches the motel room to try and find a picture of a relative he could contact.

Gradually the two men appear to draw closer, at times showing moments of connection, and then falling back into uncertainty and rejection. Solo still searches for the clue that can prevent the inevitable, even going so far as to find out why William continually attends a local movie theater and engages in conversation with the young cashier at the box office. Bahrani's Solo is not a stereotype of the cool hip black man out to rescue the forlorn white man from himself. Solo is a multi-faceted human being with his own set of problems who is always depicted with respect. The finale, shot in the beautiful North Carolina Mountains in October, captures the stirring symphony of autumn color, and the long look that William and Solo give each other before they part is the essence of compassion, given freely with an open heart - even to the point when no payback is achieved or expected.

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Tahir571 profile
Tahir571 September 06, 2022 at 06:57 am

1080 p please

Exley profile
Exley September 05, 2022 at 03:36 pm

Top Cast: 1 actor lul

Gojira54 profile
Gojira54 September 05, 2022 at 01:50 pm

Thanks for this, I've been wanting to see it for some time now, especially since I loved Abbas Kiarostami's Taste of Cherry, which has the same topic. From what I've seen of Ramin Bahrani's work, I know this will be great. Check him out when you can!