Engaging tale of corruption from Tajikistan

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Overall rating:

Score 3


Angel On The Right


Right from its opening shot of a goat tethered outside a crumbling shack, director Jamshed Usmonov’s bittersweet snapshot of life in a post-Soviet backwater town in central Asia ominously promises an archetypal slice of arthouse bleak-chic about soulful Third World peasants getting trapped down wells. Fortunately, Angel On The Right is a more wily beast than that, a magic realist neo-western dressed in the deceptively drab threads of a low-budget kitchen-sink docu-drama.

Shot in the director’s home village in Tajikistan with a non-professional cast of family and friends, the story opens with the return of charismatic hard-nosed anti-hero Hamro (Maruf Pulodzoda) from 10 years in a Moscow slammer. His loyalties torn between his dying mother, the son he never knew he had and an army of aggrieved gangsters, Hamro brings a whole heap of troubles home to roost. An engaging tale of ingrained corruption and divine intervention in the new Wild East.