A long-distance trip into the unknown can sometimes turn out to be a true eye-opener, either a good one or a bad one, depending on the approach of the traveller and the risk he decides to take in order to make the most out of that fascinating journey. I've always thought that the best way to experience a far-flung place is to skip all the must-see tourist destinations and explore it alternatively on foot, without a map, walking casually on the streets, whether day or night, in order to get acquainted with the local vibe through the process of constant improvisation. While many people might be scared off by that idea, this is probably the easiest and the best way to get to know one's own true self.
In Exit Marrakech a 16-year old German high school student named Bob (Samuel Schneider) travels to Morocco to meet his estranged father. Because Bob still blames his dad for destroying their family he isn't able to think clearly and is consciously ready to do some damage, thus it's not hard to foresee that something bad might happen during one of Bob's regular nights out.
Hatred towards his father is big enough to make him follow two shady characters into a bar filled with prostitutes, out of which he goes 5 minutes later holding hands with one the local ladies, Karima. Though he's perfectly conscious of the fact that Karima's there jut for the money he quickly becomes infatuated with her and goes to see her again. On his journey Bob definitely tries to navigate himself to a happy ending, which here means a relationship with the pretty prostitute. Yet he soon realizes that being thrown into a different world in such an immediate way can only lead to a disaster. However, the whole love story is suddenly brutally stopped, and that's what I found to be the film's biggest mistake. How Bob separates himself from his father and runs away with a strange woman is the main driving force of the whole scenario.
In the second act a story about the boy's coming of age becomes a story about Bob's re-connection with his father, or rather the difficult and long way that the two characters must take if they ever want to feel close again. Traveling together through the wilderness of Moroccan deserts they get to know each other better, but that still isn't enough to make them click. What the film suddenly claims, shifting to a much more climactic tone, only a drastic and life-changing event might be the solution to that problem. Moreover, Bob's struggle with diabetes presented through repeated scenes of him injecting insulin and checking his blood level only adds to the drama, making the viewer all the more aware that he might black out at any moment.
Being an interesting cross-cultural exploration, Exit Marrakech guides the viewer onto an adventure in the magically beautiful land of Morocco through a large number of picturesque wide angles and stunning aerial views, making the country all the more inviting. While we carefully follow Bob and his father we are able to experience the country in depth, and that's probably the most pleasurable aspect of the film. Exit Marrakech only re-affirms the claim that to explore a country is to get to know its unconquered side. The one that's the most surprising, the wildest, and even the darkest.
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