The senior immigrants, accompanied by the sound of their accordionist playing folkloric songs, are bringing a touch of absurd surrealism, with cacophonies and madness, in scenes looking as if taken from a Kusturica film.
Likewise, this brings to mind, the wonderful yet painfully underrated The Last Black Man in San Francisco. It is a very different film, but they both have a bittersweet hopefulness vibe about disempowerment and disadvantaged people in America carrying the burden of society, and similarly use unconventional choruses of sorts (the “Greek chorus” in Talbot’s film, and a literal one here) making various conspicuous and derogatory comments.
We all have days when bad things hit all at once as if to test our “suffering limits,” but Vic’s one is exceptionally awful – maybe a tad far-fetched – however, Give Me Liberty wants us to have faith even when everything is wrong because sometimes, life works in mysterious ways. We do not learn much about our protagonist background in the first half of the film, but in each scene, we get a sense of him, we understand him, maybe we know “him.” Or, maybe we aim to be as brave as him because Vic is what real heroes (should) look like.
“…a humanist film at heart with a bona fide independent spirit.”
Stylistically, the movie often shifts between an energetic low-key dramedy about the driver crazy day when it comes to what is happening, and, raw social realist cinema with a documentary approach focusing on the human stories. With a tight or claustrophobic, almost real-time-gradually fast-forwarded first act, Give Me Liberty is at times very stressful, but halfway in, it peculiarly changes pace, and things get looser. So we are allowed to “breathe” a little as the score evolves from spirited traditional accordions tunes to classical piano ones and smooth, mellow jazzy blues, to even more contemporary beat. The arguments are different, more personal, and we get to learn more about what’s going on in Vic’s head and home. The last act, with a more conventional cinematic narrative taking over, is truly magnificent, but it still fits in the last tense and intense, dizzying scene echoing the chaos of its beginning.
"…bringing it back to the real thing: the people"