Although their jobs consume their lives (and all their conversations), they're content – sometimes even proud. It's not unusual for them to boast about their luxurious realities and condescend towards anyone "beneath" them.
The scene clearly shines a light on the ugly side of "hustle culture" that has spread like wildfire in recent years. This workaholic lifestyle turns a person into a mere cog in the machine, with no other interests or activities. Their identity becomes synonymous with their job, showing us the dark side of the coin.
Lighting robs Riyadh of its identity
The (literal) darkness used to portray the film encompasses not only Fahad's scenes but also those of his peers who belong to the same social class.
The few instances of bright daylight appear during Friday prayers when Fahad is with his father and cousin, and again during his visit to the Sheikh's office when he applies for a medical trip.
The director utilises a stark visual contrast to depict different social classes in Riyadh, between the fortunate ones engrossed in their high-paying careers and the less fortunate individuals who are oblivious to the opulent lifestyle of the wealthy, looking in from the outside.
More than once, the film depicts Fahad's car driving away into the dilapidated old neighbourhoods of Riyadh, with towering skyscrapers on the distant horizon.
However, it's debatable how successful the film's lighting choices are. Flooding the screen with darkness swallows up Riyadh's identity, taking away its power as a character in this story.
Apart from a few scenes in which Riyadh's skyscrapers appear, though they are difficult to distinguish from a distance at night, there is nothing that connects the viewer to the city.
Instead, the movie's shooting locations appear to be in a futuristic city devoid of soul. We do not feel the vastness of Riyadh or its ongoing expansion, but rather a kind of emptiness, which fails to reflect reflect the crowded nature of Riyadh.
Ultimately, the creative choice to use darkness to depict the protagonist's plight comes at the unfortunate expense of the city's identity.
A delayed climax
The film also suffered pacing issues in its second half, when it pushed Fahad into selling alcohol as an extreme solution to his issues.
The filmmakers tried to introduce enough events that would justify his internal "explosion" and abandonment of his religious and moral values. But the result was drawn out. By then, Fahad had already exploded several times, and delaying this "climax" only slowed down the narrative.
The plot became somewhat clunky and unconvincing when Fahad decided to break into a secret liquor store, which hurtled us towards the film's resolution.
As a result, Night Courier shifted from a bold and dramatic character study to a slow-paced chase between liquor merchants and Fahad, with many scenes of surveillance and tracking that failed to add much-needed depth to the story.
Perhaps this "alcohol trade" plot would have benefited from more three-dimensional supporting characters, or even just truly villainous ones, which would have sparked momentum and introduced high-stakes conflicts.
Instead, we witnessed a gradual slowdown of the narrative and an absence of new and gripping storylines.
Director Al-Kalthami is known for his clear style when working on 'Telfaz11' productions, as is actor Al-Dokhei (Fahad), who stole the spotlight in most episodes of 'Khambalah' and 'Al-Khalat'.
Going into Night Courier, I worried their comedic backgrounds might be detrimental if forced into such a sincere story.
Fortunately, Al-Kalthami offered a serious and mature take on society's pitfalls and the exhausting class divisions we face, accompanied by a full awareness of the material obsession that is growing faster than the city of Riyadh itself.
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Credit is also due to those responsible for casting; Al-Qar'awi and Abu Salu delivered stand-out performances.
Al-Qar'awi has a knack for increasing tension in a scene and also possesses the power to dial back these nerve-wracking undertones. He's in complete control of the screen.