Wide-eyed Nigerian James expects to find Jerusalem is a land of milk and honey, populated by God's chosen people. Instead he encounters a land of malls and high-rise hovels, populated by gang-masters who promptly cast him into slavery in the illegal labour market.
Israeli director Alexandrowicz deftly lands his blows: idolatry in organised religion, the racism and exploitation in Israeli society and the corrupting power of that bloody money stuff all take a beating. James' innocence and ideals are soon muddied by the grubby experience of his ascent to black-market player, in an engaging and well-acted morality play, but the muddled mix of documentary rawness and fable-like naivete prevents it from fulfilling its parable pretensions. Siyabonga Melongisi Shibe puts in a good turn as the naive James, all too willing to pray for a miracle in a city that doesn't dish out anything for free.
A deftly constructed, and thankfully not entirely predictable story gives James' Journey just enough kick to set it apart from other social realist productions.