Although I hate those who make an uninterpretable screenplay for a simple story, I love Abou Leila. It creates a surreal world with tension, grief, bizarreness and madness - perhaps this is exactly how living in Algeria feels. Also, what a brilliant idea to bring in Swans to do the scoring.
[Filmin] The beginning is reminiscent of the cinema of Jacques Audiard. The director uses tempo and suspense masterfully. Later, this searching of a terrorist through the desert shows the portrait of a man with psychological scars. Algeria, 90s, the "dark decade". Certainly you don't need two hours to tell this story. But we find powerful images and profound messages: "People say this country is a madhouse."
In retrospect, ABOU LEILA does kinda sound like the title of an extremely sinister Pere Ubu song. The film begins w/ an epigraph from William Blake, in part asserting that the world has a tendency to drive good people bananas. The story seems customary, we might expect it to tread a straight line. Instead we get a series of increasingly loco detours. By the end I was nigh prepared to sign my own commitment papers.