The wave-making country, Saudi Arabia, has been catching eyeballs for the past few months with its content on Netflix.

Now, Naga, a new movie from the Middle Eastern region has begun streaming on the world’s most popular digital content distribution network.

It is touted to be a provocative and offbeat thriller that plays for almost two hours.

If you’re confused about the film’s performance, here is my review to help you out.

Naga Synopsis

Sarah is stranded alone in a desert, where camels are a normal practice. She must find a way to get back home before 10 PM or else she will face the wrath of her strict father.

Image Credits: Netflix

Directed by Meshal Aljaser, the movie stars Adwa Bader (Sarah), and Yazeed Almajyul (Saad) in prime roles.

What Works for Naga?

When you are cinematically treating an unusual idea, the chances of success depend on your conviction to present the “offbeatness” of the story.

Naga depicts a day in the life of Sarah, who lives in a patriarchal society, just like most of the Middle Eastern countries.

Sarah, maneuvering within the constraints of her father’s strict 10 PM curfew, ostensibly heads out for a shopping expedition with a friend while secretly meeting her boyfriend.

However, the evening takes an unexpected turn when the couple finds themselves entangled in a series of bizarre incidents in a desert locale, shrouded in literal darkness.

Can Sarah make it back in time?

Image Credits: Netflix

There’s something so appealing about the synopsis of Naga that it attracts you at first glance (at least, I was allured).

In the movie, you’ll find instances of schadenfreude. Yes, that’s the kind of actionable sarcasm you are exposed to.

The protagonist is not likable. Her nature is on the arrogant and mean side. So, she goes around belittling people if her wishes are not met.

Naga is unique in the sense that it uses no external dramatic impulses to generate empathy when Sarah is stranded.

The film is so simple yet so ruthless. Imagine how important is it for a girl, probably in her early twenties, to get back home in time just so that her father doesn’t get angry?

It’s a straight-out NO for a movie in 2023.

Still, Naga uses this fear as the focal point. Not her life. Not her boyfriend’s well-being. But her father’s wrath.

Image Credits: Netflix

It almost has an in-and-out storyline. The protagonist gets into trouble and then she must walk out of it anyhow.

Though you may not find the tale enthralling, you will definitely be intrigued by its curiously convoluted narration.

Naga’s cinematography deserves commendation for its adept use of various camera angles, although a more restrained approach could have spared the audience from unnecessary dramatic flair.

The quirky background music, reminiscent of bygone comedy shows, enhances the viewing experience.

Naga’s ending completes the story and grabs another plus point.

How are the Performances?

Naga solely trots on Adwa Bader’s performance. She effectively makes you hate her for the enigmatic personality the actor portrays.

Her repulsive expressions, gritty screen presence, and largely towering sense of adaptability enrich Naga.

Sometimes, Adwa even lashes out using a stone face and all you can do is admire her sharp responsiveness.

Image Credits: Netflix

Yazeed Almajyul does an honest job wearing the shoes of a typical boyfriend from a conservative region.

He has a very grudgy sense of depicting humor and I think it will impress you. However, Yazeed doesn’t have a prominently written sketch on paper.

What Doesn’t Work for Naga?

The film becomes tough and irritating at times since it tries to force tribulations. You cannot differentiate between what is true and what is not in the first place.

An easier, more convincing approach may have worked better. For example, Sarah’s hallucinations with the Camel could have found a more suitable partner in non-jittery actions.

Some people might find Naga an exaggerated and over-the-top film, which I think was because of Sarah’s inebriated state.

Had she not been drunk, the events would have been more authentic. However, the distinct impact might have been lost.

It is a plot device used to reason with the genre of Naga.

Moreover, I feel the pacing of the movie could have been better.

Stream or Skip?

Naga is a watchable film, provided you persevere until the end.

The movie’s conclusion holds more substance than the middle portion, offering a sense of coherence and delivering the desired impact.

While the film may have its flaws, it manages to shine as a cohesive whole, surpassing its individual parts.

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