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‘Flee’ Review: Brilliantly-Crafted Exploration of a Queer Afghan Refugee’s Tale
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‘Flee’ Review: Brilliantly-Crafted Exploration of a Queer Afghan Refugee’s Tale

Riz Ahmed and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau are executive producers of the English version of 'Flee'.

Updated
Movie Reviews
3 min read

Flee

‘Flee’ Review: Brilliantly-Crafted Exploration of a Queer Afghan Refugee’s Tale

The Oscar-nominated film Flee, directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen, is a deeply personal tale about an Afghan refugee who is recounting, and often still coming to terms with his identity, both as a refugee and a gay man. Our protagonist, (pseudonym) Amin Nawabi, now lives in Denmark with his partner Kasper, in stark contrast to the story the film starts out with.

Using animation as the medium, Rasmussen has said, was a choice he made to keep Amin’s anonymity intact. While the reason is somber, the result is magnificent since the choice of such a difficult medium creates an immersive tapestry, taking the viewer through each memory Amin recalls while also making it seem like we’re privy to something private.

A still from Flee featuring Amin and Kasper.

(Photo Courtesy: IMDb)

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Flee touches upon multiple facets and stages of Amin’s life– the constant fear of losing members of his family (and losing some), the way he and his family are exploited by corrupt police officials, relying on human traffickers for their life and freedom, choosing survival perhaps above all else, dealing with shame and the feeling of being trapped, and much more.

All of this doesn’t feel cramped in the film’s runtime and Amin and Rasmussen (and producer Riz Ahmed who voices Amin in English) take us through the horrors of war, violence, fear, and uncertainty with efficiency.

There are still things Amin hasn’t properly dealt with, and as he goes on that journey, the viewers also understand how the circumstances have had lasting effects on the person he has grown to become.

A still from Flee.

(Photo Courtesy: IMDb)

He feels not only a pressure to succeed but also carries the responsibility of never disappointing his family– he tries to prod and fix everything about him that he thinks won’t fit into his family’s ideal. The animation, in itself, is brilliant and succeeds in creating fear and suspense when intended.

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The style evolves and changes, relying heavily on lines and colour to tell the immersive story, while also creating the anxiety of the cramped spaces wherein some of the most terrifying parts of the film occur.

The film is elevated by Swedish composer Uno Helmersson's soundtrack. I will never listen to 'Take on Me' again without thinking of Flee.

A still from Flee.

(Photo Courtesy: IMDb)

Rasmussen tells his friend’s story with the sensitivity and artistry it deserves. In Flee, even Rasmussen is an outsider and we see the images through Amin’s eyes– it’s his coming-of-age story. Be it, the way he recalls his family’s journey from Kabul to Moscow or his crush on Jean-Claude Van Damme.

You can watch the film on Zee5.

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Topics:  Oscars   Riz Ahmed   Flee 

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