After the brilliant Untouchable in 2011 Omar Sy has reunited with directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano for a second time to create Samba. This film is again in French and falls into the same genre of comedy drama. Does lightning strike twice? Samba almost feels like a sequel to Untouchable, although it isn’t it’s hard not to compare them, can Samba match the success of Untouchable?
The best thing about Samba was its characters, they were very endearing and easily likeable. Whilst not the central relationship explored the friendship between Samba (Sy) and Wilson (Tahar Rahim) was the most entertaining to watch on screen. Their chemistry meant that any time these two shared a scene you were bound to have a big grin on your face. Much like Untouchable humour is used very well here, usually the result of Samba and Wilson’s banter. What was so good about this humour was that it was very relatable. It was a realistic style of humour, the things going on, the jokes being made were ones that you could picture happening in your own life, this made Samba a very entertaining watch. There are many reasons why I thought Samba felt like a sequel to Untouchable, I know I shouldn’t compare so much but its obvious that the similarities are there. Ludovico Einaudi returns to score the film and as expected does a tremendous job, like the first film he is able to balance the score to match the emotions or drama that is unfolding on screen.
Unfortunately there are occasions when you may begin to wonder where everything is really going and for how much longer will it be going on. As the film progressed there didn’t seem to be an obvious conclusion or something to work towards. However, when the film does conclude it does give a purpose to the film and it makes up for those moments when the film does begin to drag. The romantic element between Samba and Alice (Charlotte Gainsbourg) was handled well, even if sometimes feeling very unlikely. This isn’t the sole focus of Samba which is only a positive thing though as this allows room for the humour and the other relationships discussed to develop as well.
Ultimately the reunion of this trio has resulted in another feel-good outing, but one that isn’t afraid to deal with some darker issues. It could be argued that there are maybe too many similarities to Untouchable and that Samba doesn’t quite reach its heights. However, when looked at in isolation Samba is quite wonderful. The performances from the cast allow for quick but meaningful connections with the characters, the humour always hits the mark and the more emotional moments deliver too.
Rating – 8/10