With films ‘Flee’ and ‘Encounter,’ Riz Ahmed helps tell the stories of men on the run : NPR

Riz Ahmed has a pair of movies opening this weekend — the sci-fi thriller Face in which he stars, and the documentary Flee, which he co-manufactured.


Riz Ahmed has experienced a major year. He was nominated for greatest actor Oscar for actively playing a drummer shedding his hearing in the “Sound Of Metal.” And this weekend, he provides two extra films to his resume. He is the govt producer for an strange refugee documentary referred to as “Flee.” And he’s the star of a sci-fi thriller referred to as “Come across.” Critic Bob Mondello states each films convey urgency to tales of men on the operate.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: The documentary “Flee” charts an Afghan refugee’s two-decade journey not just from childhood in war-torn Kabul to political asylum in Denmark but also to a write-up-grad degree at Princeton and marriage to his Danish husband or wife Kasper. It can be drawn from many hours of interviews, and I imply that verb drawn practically.


Unidentified ACTOR #1: (As character, non-English language spoken).

MONDELLO: To safeguard his subject’s identity, the filmmaker employs moody animation – charcoal and pen and ink – to illustrate his tale. This has pros, not least that he can show anecdotes that a a lot more conventional documentary would have struggled to discover photographs for, say, the time when Amin, which is not his subject’s genuine name, was dancing in the streets of Kabul at the age of 4 sporting an older sister’s nightgown.


MONDELLO: Amin notes that even as a youngster, he was witnessed as distinctive and remembers a crush he experienced back again then on a film star.


Unknown ACTOR #2: (As Amin Nawabi) Jean-Claude Van Damme.

MONDELLO: Coaxed by the director, he also remembers the 1st Taliban takeover and his grey-haired mother spiriting his older brother out of Afghanistan as he was about to be drafted. She then took youthful Amin and his other siblings to Moscow on a harrowing final flight out, for which we now have a a lot more the latest reference point. Terrifying treks at the hands of human traffickers, at 1 stage in a sealed shipping and delivery container on the higher seas…


Unidentified ACTORS: (As characters, shouting in non-English language).

MONDELLO: …Fill considerably of the motion picture and give it a furious narrative push, normally tempered by animation that’s ravishing but also easy and wistful and that would make the fleeing in “Flee” as riveting as it is genre expanding. Suppose, though, that what you happen to be fleeing is everywhere.

(SOUNDBITE OF Film, “Encounter”)

MONDELLO: A meteor streaks across the sky at the outset of “Face,” blazing briefly and sending particles of dust streaming down into forests, where they are ingested by bugs. But they are not dust. They’re microbes, parasites that rob their hosts of totally free will. And when a mosquito ingests one particular, they start off to shift up the food items chain. Malik, played by Riz Ahmed, is a embellished Marine experienced to assess and lessen risk. But he can not get officialdom to admit the danger. So he is raced in the middle of the night to spirit his younger sons, who are living with his estranged wife, absent to a spot wherever he can guard them.

(SOUNDBITE OF Film, “Come across”)

RIZ AHMED: (As Malik Khan) I’m using you on a street excursion out of city.

LUCIAN-RIVER CHAUHAN: (As Jay Khan) Now? Let’s do it.

AHMED: (As Malik Khan) You good to go.

LUCIAN-RIVER: (As Jay Khan) Yeah.

AHMED: (As Malik Khan) Prepared for motion?

MONDELLO: As he and the boys trek into a desolate American wasteland, armed mainly with bug spray, there are threats of a far more down-to-earth type – police, suitable-wing militiamen. And ultimately, he is pressured to confess that…

(SOUNDBITE OF Film, “Come across”)

AHMED: (As Malik Khan) This ain’t a road excursion. This is a rescue mission. Consider my hand. Y’all ever listened to of the A few Musketeers?

ADITYA GEDDADA: (As Bobby Khan) No, in no way.

AHMED: (As Malik Khan) They were being the 3 toughest soldiers there at any time was. They could survive anything at all because they caught jointly. Now you telling me if we never stand by each individual other, we are unable to get via anything at all? I know we can.

MONDELLO: Sticking alongside one another isn’t often straightforward. Six-year-outdated Bobby tends to wander off and his brother, Jay, even though he may possibly be the most liable 10-12 months-outdated on the planet, is even now just 10.

(SOUNDBITE OF Film, “Face”)

AHMED: (As Malik Khan) Okay, this transpires yet again, we’ve acquired a challenge. I imply it.

LUCIAN-RIVER: (As Jay Khan) Why are you offended at me when he ran off?

AHMED: (As Malik Khan) He is a kid.

LUCIAN-RIVER: (As Jay Khan) I’m a child, much too.

AHMED: (As Malik Khan) You are not a kid anymore. You cannot be. I am sorry. I require you. Hey, look at me. Glance at me. People get care of each other. Is that clear?

LUCIAN-RIVER: (As Jay Khan) Of course.

MONDELLO: Filmmaker Michael Pearce retains the motion propulsive as the movie shifts gears and jumps genres, heading toward a climax that he executes with Spielbergien (ph) visible flair. “Encounter’s” plot just isn’t often as persuasive as its characters. But as a father pushed by desperation, Riz Ahmed is heroic and heartbreaking, as he no doubt will be once more when “Flee” is unveiled in English. He is slated to dub the voice of Amin, as soon as more ever on the run, all barely 12 months just after receiving what we are going to very likely be stating in a several a long time was his very first Oscar nomination. I’m Bob Mondello.

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