Written and Directed by Partho Sen-Gupta, Slam is an Australian film that tells the story of how one man’s life turns to hell when his younger sister disappears without a trace.
Ricky Nasser (Adam Bakri) is happily married, he owns his own business with his wife and is expecting the birth of his second child. It is fair to say that he has a happy life but his life is about to be turned upside down when his younger sister Ameena Nasser (Danielle Horvat) disappears.
Ricky soon finds out that Ameena is an outspoken slam poet. Her poetry is pro-feminist and anti-racist but her poetry has been known to receive racist comments from Australian white supremacist groups online. At the same time of his sister’s disappearance, there are news reports of a captured Australia pilot that is facing execution in Syria, which leads the media to believe that Ameena is somehow involved and the media dub her an Islamic Terrorist. Ricky and his family report Ameena missing and police officer Joanna Hendricks (Rachael Blake) investigates the crime, but even she has her own demons to face, having only just returned to work after mourning the death of her son, as well a being hassled be her abusive ex-partner.
One thing that I really enjoyed about this film are the parallel narratives that you are being told. While they are not closely connected, they are all part of the same story and impact different characters in the story.
I enjoyed Adam Bakri as Ricky Nasser. From the start of the film you can see that he wants to be accepted and feel like an Australian, not only identified regarding his race. His character even changed his name from Tariq to Ricky, spending less time with his community to run his cafe business with his wife Sally (Rebecca Breed). With his sister missing and being accused of fleeing the country to become a terrorist, just when Ricky was starting to feel like he fit in, the crisis has Ricky feeling like an outsider again.
A scene that stood out in the film was when Ricky and Sally share a rare happy moment during all of the madness, where they visit the doctor to see their unborn baby’s ultrasound and both are extremely happy. This happiness is temporary as when they get home, they find a group of journalists outside their house that want to harrass Ricky about Ameena. This is the straw that broke the camels back, Ricky attacks the journalists which upsets Sally who is heavily pregnant, putting her unborn baby at risk by jumping in to stop her husband from hurting anyone or being hurt himself.
Slam is an intense thriller that shows an accurate portrayal of racism in Australia. It is perhaps a side of Australia that a lot of Australians like to ignore as Australians are generally known for being east going but it does exists and even though it can be a little bit difficult to watch at times because of how real it is but that is due to the storytelling of writer and director Partho Sen-Gupta.
Slam had it’s world premiere at the 2018 Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, had it’s Australian premiere at the 2019 Sydney Film Festival and had small theatrical run across Australia in October 2019. Slam is currently available online as part of the Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air Festival between the 1st of May until the 17th of May.
For more information on the Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air Festival, visit: https://breath-of-fresh-air.com.au