Two people find themselves yearning to go “outside” in both a literal and figurative sense in this well-made drama from relative newcomer Farahd Abdullah Wallizada.
Ramzi is an aspiring artist who has a case of agoraphobia. He has not left his Seattle apartment in five years. He finds himself afraid to go to the outside world and experience it. This leaves him in a state of loneliness. One night, he decides to call on an escort service and meets Ana. Rather than having her service him, he spends his hour talking with her as he has no friends, no one to rely on. As for Ana, for the first time since doing this job, she felt a sense of comfort with Ramzi and promises to one day see him again.
As for Ana, her real name is Catherine. She is an undergrad going through an abusive relationship with her boyfriend. She also discovers she is pregnant, which leaves her in a state of turmoil. Despite being completely uncomfortable, she needs the money. When she visits Ramzi again, the two find themselves closer than ever before. However, Catherine/Ana decides to leave Ramzi as she finds herself inside her shell. Will Ramzi and Catherine/Ana find themselves being able to head to the “outside” of their current states?
After making a few short films, Farahd Abdullah Wallizada makes a very good feature film debut with this film that has a double meaning in its title. The film is a look at two people who connect and find themselves on the inside waiting to go on the outside, one in a literal sense and one in a figurative sense. The story of an agoraphobic artist and a part-time escort who is inside of a shell that makes her put up her walls against everyone around her is well acted and well made.
Wallizada is not just the director, but he wrote the film, composed the score, and stars in the lead role of Ramzi. As Ramzi, Wallizada is excellent in the role of a shy agoraphobe who not only doesn’t leave the building, but his apartment. This is evident when he orders food and when the driver arrives, he asks Ramzi to come down to grab it, but he is afraid. He also spends time working on his art or looking for companionship online, whether it is through online chat rooms or calling escorts all to make conversation. He is yearning to go outside literally.
Megan Tully is excellent in the role of Ana aka Catherine, the escort who unknowingly becomes Ramzi’s greatest confidant and yet she doesn’t even know it. Catherine/Ana is very reserved, and it is clear she is in an abusive relationship because she shows visible bruises on her “jobs”. To make matters worse, she learns she is pregnant and plans to keep the baby. Even when she is ready to finally graduate from college, she finds herself reserved among her peers when they introduce themselves to her and approach her. However, when she finds herself with Ramzi, that reserve level slowly begins to diminish and even finds herself attracted to him as he is nothing like her boyfriend. She is yearning to be outside figuratively.
Outside is a wonderful look at two people, one yearning to literally go and one yearning to escape her current situation. Director Farahd Abdullah Wallizada has great chemistry with co-lead Megan Tully and both on the individual front showcase some great emotion.
WFG RATING: A
Random Media presents a Nimbus Vision production. Director: Farahd Abdullah Wallizada. Producer: Mark Moliterni. Writer: Farahd Abdullah Wallizada. Cinematography: Andriy Semenyuk. Editing: Christina O’Sullivan.
Cast: Megan Tully, Farahd Abdullah Wallizada, Sebastian Cabanas, Tristan Cunningham, Lise Gardo, Jimmy Glabots, Dralla Aierken, Shiley Jordna, David Jahn.