By robbiefreeling | REVERSEBLOG: the reverse shot blog December 9, 2007 at 5:10AM
Though it's both a predictable culture-clash comedy and a gentle plea for people of different political backgrounds to "just get along," The Band's Visit nevertheless manages to use its central contrivances and inevitable cliches to its favor, and becomes something ethereal and winning. This debut from Israeli filmmaker Eran Kolirin, in which the soft-spoken members of an Egyptian brass band (the stodgy Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra, to be precise) find themselves stranded in a small Israeli town on the way to a gig, parlays its initial good-natured dullness into surprisingly robust drama. Kolirin's schematics, both in its narrative turns and its overtly stylized compositions, threaten to reduce politics to bromides -- yet the filmmaker is wonderfully keyed into the subtleties of human behavior, and evinces a splendid love for all of his characters that borders on infectious adoration. The Band's Visit may wear its quaintness too much on its sleeve, but for a dose of what is essentially movie medicine, it goes down awfully easily.