SXSW Film review: ‘Bodkin Ras’

Sohrab Bayat as Bodkin. Credit: Guy Offerman
Sohrab Bayat as Bodkin. Credit: Guy Offerman

“Bodkin Ras” is a clever, solemn film.

Bodkin (Sohrab Bayat) is a fugitive who literally runs into the small Scottish town of Forres,  in an attempt to integrate into Forres’ fabric, no matter how existentially isolated he and the town’s inhabitants have become.

Bodkin’s character is purported to be the only actor in the film. All the other people are the actual townspeople with their own emotional baggage that director and writer, Kaweh Modiri, artfully folds into the storyline.

“Bodkin Ras” begins to ask the question of, ‘what is home,’ and then careens into much more introspective and somewhat darker philosophical questions of responsibility and free will.

The film is hauntingly narrated in the past tense by Eddie, played by himself, a tormented alcoholic who becomes a sort of friend and father figure to Bodkin, providing him with work and much-needed mutual companionship. The social fabric of Forres circulates around its pubs and namely The Eagle, which is affectionately known as “The Chapel.” Alcoholism, loneliness, fear, love, isolation — Modiri layers all of these complex themes subtly together and allows them to speak for themselves through a pseudo-documentarian’s lens.

The structure and tone of “Bodkin Ras” makes for a unique experience, refreshingly leaving us with more questions than answers. It has elements of Albert Camus’ “The Stranger” and is scored beautifully by Mohsen Namjoo,  whose music punctuates the isolated mood of the film. You can catch “Bodkin Ras” again at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Alamo Ritz.

Author: Charles Ealy

Charles Ealy edits and writes about books and movies for the Ausstin American-Statesman.

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