Rock the Kasbah
Directed by Barry Levinson
Written by Mitch Glazer
Starring: Billy Murry, Kate Hudson, Zooey Deschanel, Danny McBride, and Bruce Willis
Rock the Kasbah is a film that is in part inspired by the 2009 documentary Afghan Star. This documentary follows four contestants on the Afghan reality program Afghan Star, Afghanistan’s version of American Idol. One of the contestants that the documentary follows is a woman named Setara Hussainzada, who not only sings on the program but also dances freely sans her hijab. Making Rock the Kasbah a dramatization of those events would have been a more interesting movie than the one delivered by Glazer and Levinson.
Instead of getting an interesting movie that would explore how women in the Muslim countries are treated as a Dark Ages version of a 1950’s American housewife. What we get is a disjointed movie that features Bill Murry in Afghanistan trying to cultivate a new talent, well that is the movie sold. That movie is only a small part of what Rock the Kasbah was. The majority film was spent with some time filling fluff piece between Kate Hudson and Murry, and the rest is an arms deal subplot involving Bruce Willis that felt like it did just did not belong in the movie.
Rock the Kasbah is one mess of a film, but to his credit, Billy Murry does give a good performance that is the only watchable thing about this movie. A dramatization of the documentary that Rock the Kasbah was loosely inspired by is the movie that Levinson and Glazer should have made, but we do not live in a perfect world.