peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2022 07 27 MogulMowgli

Mogul Mowgli (2020)

/noise/movies | Link

Riz Ahmed completism. The IMDB summary almost says it all: "A British Pakistani rapper is on the cusp of his first world tour, but is struck down by an illness that threatens to derail his big break." The illness is something that causes muscular degeneration. The story is a generic clash between (the old) conservative Muslim traditions (cupping!) and (the new) kids who just want to succeed in a material world (and be treated by stem cell infusions). There's a "poetry" slam in the style of Bodied or 8 Mile where Ahmed gets canned for insufficiently sophisticated racism. Nabhaan Rizwan (as junior, less talented rapper RPG) got the thankless task of wearing the XXXTentacion doe eyes, facial tattoos and low rent lyrics. From my position on the couch I'd observe that 25 years ago (mid-1990s) this DIY mode (cassette recordings, rough and ready production, sampling of your parents' records, ...) gave us Tricky and Asian Dub Foundation, both of whom made all these points a long time ago. Ahmed's performance is solid, as usual, and he has some great raps, but it's not enough.

Ahmed got an Oscar this year for the short film The Long Goodbye, and I wasn't paying attention! (The outro there is the intro here?) A. O. Scott.