Lebanese Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya weaves an interesting narrative in his latest directorial effort, as the story of Ziad Haddad, Alain Saddeh, plays out intensely with plenty of understated humor. A Very Big Shot (2015) is the story of Ziad Haddad a small time drug dealer who attempts to smuggle drugs across the border by hiding the substances in film canisters. He decides as an added means of security that he would legitimately produce a real film while simultaneously smuggling the contraband with the help of his two brothers Joe, Tarek Yaacoub, and Jad, Wissam Fares, and local director Charbel, Fouad Yammine. The film suffers from weird pacing opting to reveal Ziad’s plan in the second act. The film appears rushed after that as the third act doesn’t really flesh out a satisfying conclusion. Despite these faults, A Very Big Shot makes good use of its unusual premise.

Pace: 6 out of 10

Truly the weakest aspect of the film is its pacing. The story doesn’t really kick in until the second act and after that a slew of interesting characters become relegated to the background.

Acting: 8 out of 10

Saddeh gives a very measured approach with his character and a thug like Ziad becomes very believable. The other stand out performance comes from Yammine who is sympathetic as the director of the cover film.

Content: 8 out of 10

The story is strange and unusual and Chaaya does a good job mixing humor into the plot. A few characters needed to be more fully realized and the film left certain plot points out in the open without addressing them at all but besides that it was a solid effort.

Overall: 7.5 out of 10

A weak third act and clunky pacing throughout almost detract too much from an otherwise clever premise and interesting main character.

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