Mandoob shines a thrilling light on the perils of surviving in Saudi Arabia’s gig economy

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Saudi Arabia’s wealthiness and estimation for having 1 of nan world’s lowest poorness rates person solidified it arsenic being a uniquely prosperous spot devoid of a moving people successful galore people’s minds. But pinch his debut feature, Mandoob, which premiered astatine this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, head Ali Kalthami tells a darkly comedic, gripping communicative astir nan lives of Saudi Arabia’s gig workers, who toil successful nan shadows to make nan fantastical lives of elites possible.

Set successful nan traffic-congested bosom of Saudi Arabia’s superior city, Riyadh, Mandoob chronicles nan winding communicative of Fahad Algaddani (Mohammed Aldokhei), a restless telephone halfway worker whose habitual lateness getting to nan agency and ignorant regarding irrational customers put his occupation successful danger. As overmuch arsenic Fahad struggles to beryllium connected clip getting to activity aliases being location for his aspiring entrepreneur sister Sarah (Hajar Alshammari), their ailing begetter Nasser (Mohammed Alttowayan) knows that his boy intends good and genuinely wants what’s champion for nan family.

But erstwhile postulation keeps Fahad from being connected clip for nan umpteenth time, his managers are each excessively fresh to occurrence him for good, and because he’s near pinch small dream of uncovering full-time employment, he becomes a transportation driver for an Uber-like work known arsenic Mandoob (which loosely translates to “courier” successful Arabic).

Mandoob doesn’t walk each that overmuch of its 1-hour, 50-minute tally clip delving into nan specifications of how, successful caller years, Saudi Arabia has encouraged overseas companies for illustration Uber to group up shop wrong its borders arsenic portion of nan crown prince’s Vision 2030 scheme to diversify nan country’s non-oil industries. But successful its attraction connected Fahad and nan desperation pinch which he hides his caller occupation from his family, you tin spot Mandoob commenting connected nan realities of really difficult it is to thrive arsenic a gig worker successful a strategy that’s designed to support them nameless, faceless, perpetually busy, and underpaid.

There’s a haunting ominousness to nan measurement Mandoob opens that gives you a sensation of nan acheronian move Fahad’s communicative takes arsenic his life arsenic a regular transportation feline presents him pinch an unexpected opportunity to get into bootlegging for able elites. But while Kalthami and co-writer Mohammed Algarawi decidedly crafted Mandoob as a thriller, nan script’s exploration of Fahad’s interiority and Aldokhei’s subtle capacity besides make nan movie play for illustration a amazingly comedic characteristic study.

The deeper Fahad gets into his concealed double life arsenic a booze runner and a Mandoob driver, nan harder it becomes to show whether his compulsive lying aliases shame astir not being capable to clasp down a salaried occupation is what’s keeping him going. Effectively creating that uncertainty and a larger consciousness of overcaffeinated dread are immoderate of Mandoob’s biggest strengths from a communicative perspective. What’s astir striking astir nan film, though, is nan measurement Kalthami and cinematographer Ahmed Tahoun usage their camera to picture Riyadh arsenic a sparkling metropolis whose beauty belies myriad societal dichotomies.

As culturally circumstantial arsenic Mandoob is successful galore moments because astir of Fahad’s day-to-day frustrations are inspired by nan very existent obstacles that Uber drivers crossed nan world face, there’s an contiguous relatability to nan movie that speaks volumes astir nan companies it takes to task. But arsenic easy arsenic it is to spot yourself successful Fahad and his plight, Mandoob’s last and astir awesome instrumentality is nan astonishing measurement it brings its communicative to a adjacent while making a powerful constituent astir nationalist transportation, of each things.

While Mandoob was recently picked up for distribution, nan movie doesn’t yet person a due supplier aliases merchandise date, and it mightiness beryllium a spot of a hold earlier it hits theaters and / aliases streaming services. Once it does, though, it’s perfectly 1 to watch.

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