Saleh’s film works on many different levels because it’s a layered blend of various elements from different genres. He has crafted a spy thriller that succeeds as a coming-of-age narrative and can also be an entertaining film that keeps you captivated up until the final breathtaking moments.
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It’s a familiar template, and Saleh’s direction can veer toward the heavy-handed in places, but it’s also an intriguingly damning portrait of the corruption currently hitting Egypt on all levels.
Though struggling with some pacing issues, it’s mostly an engaging, well-performed drama that offers a fascinating peek into an institution matched in significance only by the Vatican itself.
It’s a movie that is boldly anti-clerical, juxtaposing the spectacle of faith with a hidden reality of corruption and hypocrisy – although in the final act I sensed that it perhaps did not quite have the courage of its satirical convictions.
What we’re dealing with here is a fairly conventional political thriller — think “House of Cards,” minus the sleek David Fincher aesthetic or much in the way of suspense — set in a world no one has dared to explore on screen before now.
Boy From Heaven wants to offer up a character study of a young Muslim man who ends up in hell and keeps going. Sadly, a deep and meaningful portrait of Adam is forgotten as the film — like the state officials it depicts — prioritizes functionality above all else.
Boy From Heaven is an ambitiously complex story of religious espionage.