Dheepan ★★★½

Winner of the prestigious Palme d'Or at 2015 Cannes Film Festival, Dheepan may not be as strong a cinema as past few recipients of the same honour but it nonetheless succeeds as an engrossing, absorbing & reflective drama that illustrates the plight of immigrants with unflinching honesty and is boosted substantially by outstanding performances from its leading cast.

Dheepan tells the story of its titular character, a former Tamil Tiger soldier who pairs with a young woman & a 9-year old girl, together posing as a family, in order to leave Sri Lanka and begin a new life from scratch. Upon his arrival in France, he manages to secure the job of a resident caretaker but the daily violence in the neighbourhood turns out to be another conflict zone for him.

Co-written & directed by Jacques Audiard (best known for A Prophet), Dheepan isn't as enthralling as his finest work but it is still a powerful piece of work that's completely devoted to its characters, is expertly narrated & steadily paced. However, what impressed me most was the authenticity with which it captures the language barrier & other obstacles any immigrant faces in a different country and the desperate attempts he or she makes in order to blend in.

The technical aspects are finely executed. The set pieces provide a fitting setting for the drama to unfold at, Cinematography is effectively carried out with the best part saved for the final act which in itself was an unexpected turn, Editing could've applied a few more trims to the final print, music nicely compliments the whole narrative yet it's the performances from its relatively unknown cast that steals the show with the titular character being played by a former real-life LTTE soldier.

On an overall scale, Dheepan is a thoroughly engaging narrative about immigrant experiences that grabs the viewers attention from its opening moments, offers a harsh but unbiased look at the tough life of refugees looking for a new home in a foreign nation, and packs in an interesting set of characters who are ingeniously brought to life by its committed cast. Despite its story unfolding at the same level for the most part, the final act unexpectedly explodes on the screen and is sure to leave its viewers in a shell-shocked state. Definitely recommended.

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