The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir follows a man from India taking a vacation in Paris but winds up bouncing across Europe by accident, while falling in love.
Well, this explains what Ken Scott has been up to. The Quebec director had a homegrown hit in 2011 with Starbuck , about a man with 142 children thanks to a mix-up at the sperm bank. He remade it for Americans as Delivery Man with Vince Vaughn, then followed that with the forgettable Unfinished Business.
That was four years ago. Now he’s back as the Canadian face of a French-Indian-Belgian-Singaporean-American co-production that has chapters set in Spain and Italy, and in a certain Swedish furniture store. (It’s not named in the film, but it’s blue and yellow and sells Döva Tidvatten pillows.)
Indian singer/actor Dhanush stars as Ajatashatru Lavash Patel, a streetwise Mumbai hustler who decides on a whim to visit Paris. Almost immediately he runs into a woman he is certain is the love of his life (Erin Moriarty), but before he can arrange a second date he is accidentally transported to London, where he is mistaken for a refugee.
Accidental transportation is one of the themes of this gentle comedy, which includes intermittent shots of a map of Europe as Aja bounces from port to port, running into a beautiful actress (Bérénice Bejo), a Syrian refugee (Barkhad Abdi), a fortune-telling taxi driver (Gérard Jugnot) and more.
The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir is based on French writer Romain Puértolas’s 2013 novel The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe. (There, now you know.)
With notes of Amélie’s magical realism, Forrest Gump ’s unexplainable good luck and Bollywood’s propensity to break into song and dance, this Journey may have cynical filmgoers wondering: Are we there yet? On the other hand, it’s difficult to feel ill will toward a movie that opens with a “no animals harmed” statement, and includes a subtitle that “smoking kills.” This over a scene of pirates who, if memory serves, also kill. And anyway, I have a soft spot for any entertainment that includes a song that finds a rhyme for “persona non grata.”
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