May 24, 2021
A promising premise, involving an anxious British Asian guy finding peace in the Spanish city, is let down by cliched dialogue
Granada Nights review – voyage of heartbreak and self-discovery in Spain’s deep south
The premise of Granada Nights, the directorial debut from Abid Khan, seems promising enough, in that it reimagines the tired subgenre of a sad white guy going to a foreign country and learning how to live, love and laugh. Unfortunately, while refreshingly centring a British Asian protagonist, Khan’s film is hopelessly bogged down by a thin plot and cliched dialogues.
Square, Instagram-like framing opens this journey of self-discovery, capturing reserved 24-year-old Ben (Antonio Aakeel) en route from London to Granada, Spain, to surprise his long-distance girlfriend, Helen. The tight composition oozes anxiety, and Ben’s apprehensions are sadly proved right: Helen doesn’t even want to see his face. Heartbroken and sneering at hostels, Ben is persuaded by spunky backpacker Amelia (Quintessa Swindell) to stay and explore the city. One night turns into weeks and months as the formerly shy guy gets immersed in the buzzing international student scene. The aspect ratios gradually expand – reminiscent of Xavier Dolan’s Mommy – as the framing mirrors Ben’s newly acquired open-mindedness and inner peace.
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