In the 80s we fell in love with Scotland via a film Local Hero. It helped the sound track was by Dire Straits, a favourite ensemble of the time. It was a sort of Travelogue with oil.
This week we experienced another snatch of what Scotland can offer. Limbo. The scenery is bleaker, more dreich if you like but the story line just as compelling.
Set on an anonymous Scottish Island a group of asylum seekers await the Home Office’s decidion whether to stay or be expelled, lining the endless hours with reruns of Friends and painful telephone conversations with family, using a desolate phone box because, as one refugee says, they got a better signal in the middle of the Med.
As the subject matter suggests it’s tough gritty and emotionally troubling. It’s also very funny. From the cultural awareness classes with Helga and Boris to the kidnap of a chicken, Freddie junior to a terrifying donuting on the sand in a car full of weirdy locals the humour is dotted throughout.
Mostly we follow Omar, escaping Syria and feeling a mix of despair guilt and frustration. He’s an Oud player, carrying his instrument everywhere even when he is pressganged into a fogbound boat trip to rescue sheep.
Two questions dominate the narrative: will he receive his letter and will he break his mental block and play his Oud?
You’ll have to go and find out for yourself. If you like your films without greenscreens and CGI, with thoughtful performances not least the chicken who the credits told us is called Eric and stippled with humour then give Limbo a whirl.