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I Am You film review

★★★★ Directed by: Sonia Nassery Cole Written by: Sean O'Byrne Starring: Emre Cetinkaya, Damla Sonmez, Kaan Songun Film Review by: Jason Knight

Poster for I Am You showing protagonist Damla Sonmez.
Movie Poster for I Am You

The film begins with a type of occurrence that has become all too common: a bomb exploding in a crowded area. Terrorism causes great pain and suffering by ending and destroying lives. Based on real events, Cole's hard-hitting drama I Am You depicts in great detail how far people are willing to go in order to avoid such atrocities. After a devastating terrorist attack and witnessing the death of his father by the ISIS, young man Masoud (Cetinkaya) decides to leave Afghanistan and, with the aid of smugglers, migrate to Germany, where he has connections that can help him built a new life there for himself and his family. He travels primarily by car, accompanied by a pregnant doctor Aisha (Sonmez) and an elderly man. The film follows their harrowing journey as they travel from country to country. It must be pointed out that the refugee crisis is a huge, ongoing issue that needs to be addressed. Refugees are often seen on the news, and it is heart-breaking to watch them and learn how they flee their own homes to get out of harm's way and how desperate they are to find a place where they would be welcome and safe. Masoud and his family are presented as happy, well-meaning individuals living in Afghanistan. When the violence of the extremists reaches them, it is upsetting to see that change and watch them as they struggle to keep their heads up and survive. Cetinkaya and Sonmez in particular deliver strong performances as two people who refuse to be defeated and are determined to get through whatever comes their way. And Songun is menacing as the ISIS member, representing the brutality that damages their country. Director Cole does a remarkable job, and creates many beautiful shots of landscapes and cities. And composers Jerry Lane and Andrew Lancaster's haunting, mesmerizing music adds significant qualities. I Am You is a journey. It is a journey of survival, suffering but also love. As it is based on a true story, it is proof that the human spirit cannot be broken and that even under the worst circumstances, one can emerge victorious.



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