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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
TBC
Cast
Benny Parrish
Red
CeeJay.
Directors
Alma Har'el.
Screenwriters
Running Time
80 minutes

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Bombay Beach
Californian dreaming


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Plot
Filmed against the backdrop of the impoverished Salton Sea. Bombay Beach, once promised to be a prosperous holiday destination, now amounts to nothing more than derelict buildings that reflect the lives of the hopeless misfits that occupy the town. The documentary focuses on the lives of three of the inhabitants; Benny Parrish, a young boy troubled with bipolar disorder, CeeJay Thompson, an aspiring athlete and old timer Red.


Review
Bombay Beach
Dreamlike in tone and with a bleached, almost colourless palette, Bombay Beach follows an adorable if Ritalin-fuelled boy called Benny, a lovelorn high-school football star named CeeJay and Red, an octogenarian who has the snap and smarts that occasionally puts you in mind of a virulent Jerry Lee Lewis. It’s hard to believe this once prosperous Californian town set on a rift lake called The Salton Sea is a living example of modern life in America, ravaged by poverty, cigarettes and booze, the broken-down buildings a metaphor for the disintegration of the inhabitants’ lives. Alma Har’el, however, uncovers the place’s raw beauty with a blend of observational work and passages of choreographed dance. It sounds absurd, but it emits a rare and powerful hold, making it quite unforgettable.


Verdict
The fact that Alma Har’el is still stuck in music video director mode makes for an interesting new breed of documentary.


Reviewed by Phil Wilding

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Bombay Beach
Empire Star Rating

Dream Like? Or just lacking focus?

Interesting little documentary about an impoverished seaside town inhabited by social misfits seeking either refuge or redemption from a troubled back story, although it’s curious that it’s “dream-like” quality seems to have somehow become a euphemism for being shot out of focus – suggesting that there’s an inherent bias amongst some critics for certain fare compared to others. I was prepared to let this go though as the footage captured throughout feels incredibly genuine and didn’t at any mom... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 16:36, 02 April 2012 | Report This Post


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