The first hurdle for any film looking for attention at a major festival like the Toronto Film Festival is a good review in the trades. By that measure, Winston-Salem native Ramin Bahrani's Goodbye Solo is off to a flying start. Variety's Ronnie Scheib calls the film, which was shot on location in Winston-Salem, "brilliant" and "engrossing."
Goodbye Solo is set in the world of African cab drivers, and it seems to be a continuation of Bahrani's Iranian-style aesthetic. Scheib writes:
... Bahrani has charted out a singular environment in the film's surprisingly funky Winston-Salem locale. The town, once seen as entirely insular, now claims a heterogeneous population that feels more comfortable among its dwindling tobacco fields than do curmudgeonly old-timers like William. If Solo reintroduces William to the seamier side of the city, William will inevitably lead Solo to his chosen termination point, Blowing Rock National Park, where it snows upside down and a branch thrown from the summit will return with the wind.
Pitch-perfect, charismatic thesping draws the viewer along unhesitatingly, with Michael Simmonds' raw, immediate lensing minimizing distinctions between inside and out.