(18+) UAE. Saoud Al Kaabi, Sonu Sood, Jason Flemyng
Filmed and set entirely in Dubai, City of Life invites us into a world often hidden from public view: behind the closed doors of Emirati homes, and in the hours after the city’s taxi drivers clock off. Far from being a ‘sun, sea, sand and seven stars’ advert for Dubai, the film draws a clear distinction between the lifestyle enjoyed by privileged Emirati Faisal (Al Kaabi) and the grimmer realities that face Indian cabbie Basu (Sood).
Yet the film is not without its problems. The third of these intertwined stories focuses on European couple Guy (Flemyng) and Natalya (Alexandra Maria Lara), and City of Life’s weakest moments lie with this pair. Their embarrassingly clichéd story just doesn’t ring true. Erase them, though, and it’s an impressive effort. The film tells two engaging stories filled with affecting moments, and the local talent reveals a home-grown resource ripe for picking.