The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir, directed by Ken Scott, is a wacky new travelogue film hoping to appeal to a global audience. The movie follows a Mumbai street magician who, after the death of his mother, travels to Paris with the hope of meeting his estranged father but instead ends up trekking all over Europe when things go awry.
The story of this film might sound extraordinary if you read it on paper, but in reality, it is actually little more than your typical travelogue. Regardless, the movie manages to draw you into its magic, not because of the story itself but because of the unique way in which it is presented. Much like what the protagonist did on the streets of Mumbai, the film itself is an illusion of something far grander than what we are actually watching.
The humor in the movie was extremely hit-or-miss. Thankfully, even in the sections where the humor didn’t land quite as well, the film is still lighthearted and bouncy enough to stay afloat. For every great gag, like a singing immigration officer played hilariously by Ben Miller, there is one that falls flat, such as a character comparing “learning to be a lesbian” to “learning to like broccoli”.
However, the good thing about the movie having ridiculously high energy and quick pacing is that you don’t have to spend too long with those parts that aren’t as good. The film is constantly jumping from one location or event to another which could normally begin to feel quite overwhelming but works surprisingly well in this case, as it prevents you from spending too much time thinking about what you are watching.
Additionally, the movie will likely win you over with its character development. The protagonist, the eponymous Fakir, is a compelling and likable character. Although he may not have the most unique or complex arc, it is still very sympathetic because a lot of the emotions he experiences are very common ones, such as grief and love.
Indian superstar Dhanush does an excellent job of bringing the role to life. It is understandable why he is such a big star in his home country, because he has a lot of charisma yet feels very approachable. This role seems almost like it was written for him because he is able to embody the characters so perfectly. The supporting cast is also very good, including Erin Moriarty and Bérénice Bejo, although Dhanush always takes the spotlight.
On a technical level, the film is a bit messy, but not to a distracting extent. This isn’t a musical per sé, but the music does frequently play a big role in the movie. The mixing for the score is a bit off, especially in the montages and more exciting sequences. Most of the cinematography is good, though there are a few moments that feel gimmicky.
The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir isn’t a revolutionary film by any means, but it is certainly a very enjoyable watch. If it’s playing at your local multiplex and you have a few spare bucks and an hour and a half, it’s worth your time.
The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir is now in theaters.