Movie ReviewsStreamingNetflix’s Atlantics – A Lifeless Experience

jaedennoelNovember 30, 201920/100
Mame Bineta Sane, Traore, Babacar Sylla
Mati Diop, Olivier Demangel
Mati Diop
Running Time
106 minutes
Release Date
November 29th, 2019 (Netflix)
Overall Score
Rating Summary
Atlantics is a messy and boring waste of time that is destined to become a so bad that it's good film, seemingly continuing Netflix's quantity over quality content strategy.

Atlanics holds the distinction of being the first film to ever be directed by a black woman to be featured at the Cannes Film Festival this past year. Firstly, the plot of this film is all over the place. Its consistent plot changes leave it very difficult to explain without spoiling it for the most part. The story follows a woman named Ada (Sane) who is not happy with her forced marriage to the wealthy Omar (Sylla) and would much rather be with a man named Souleiman (Traore). However, after Souleiman leaves by sea to Spain due to claim payment for his work, things start to get a little spooky.

Atlantics‘ biggest problem is that it doesn’t know what it wants to be. Is it a drama? A romance? A social commentary? A supernatural horror? Well, in a sense, it’s a bit of all of these, however, neither of them work. Each subplot within the film only ever reaches surface level and does not provide any context or explanation as to why anything is even happening? Nothing is provided and it seems as the film expects too much from viewers. Just when one subplot begins to develop, a new one pops out of nowhere like a game of whack a mole. It almost seemed as if multiple writers pitched their ideas and decided to just merge them all together.

The acting within Atlantics is… atrocious to the point where it can barely be considered acting. None of the characters are believable and show no emotion whatsoever even in the most serious of situations. Sane brings nothing to Ada and is quite possibly one of the worst actresses in recent film. The lifeless, unlikeable supporting characters such as Fanta (Aminata Kane) just make the film even harder to watch as you just wish they would go away. Considering the amount of credentials these actors have which is minimal to say the least, it does make some sense.

Meanwhile, the cinematography is like a matchstick. the film starts off looking decent with some pretty well crafted shots and sequences but these slowly start to fade away. Some scenes looked like they were filmed on iPhones, while others had more of a documentary feel. For every good shot there were many more bad ones. The CGI effects are laughable, ranging from dated to juvenile. In the end, nothing about Atlantics was visually pleasing nor memorable. 

The one redeeming quality Atlantics has is an interesting look into the culture of Dakar. This culture is surely one that the majority of North American viewers are not familiar with and may find themselves fascinated with their ways of life. Other then that, there is not a single chance this film has any capability of catching on to Western audiences.

At the end of the day, audiences should not waste their time with Atlantics considering all that Netflix already has to offer. 

*still courtesy of Netflix*

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