SALOUM (2021) is kind of an action movie, kind of a western, ultimately a horror story. The promotional materials classify it as a “southern,” because it’s from Senegal. It might be the first movie I’ve seen from a Congolese director; his name is Jean Luc Herbulot, and this is his second feature, after DEALER (2014), but he also created a TV show called Sakho & Mangane, which is on Netflix. SALOUM has some ghosty business in it, though, so it gets to be on Shudder.
Before it morphs into a haunting supernatural folk tale, it’s a swaggering, stylish action movie set to bouncy African hip hop and a great score by French dance producer Reksider. And it stars this trio of badass soldier guys. Chaka (Yann Gael, who plays Mangane on Sakho & Mangane), Rafa (Roger Sallah), and Minuit (Mentor Ba) – a.k.a. the infamous mercenaries Bangui’s Hyenas – have been hired to snatch a Mexican drug lord and his suitcase of gold bricks during the 2003 coup d’etat in Guinea-Bissau. They’re introduced walking through streets full of dead bodies, their faces obscured by hooded rain ponchos. But as they march rhythmically up a set of stairs they’re differentiated by their footwear: Chaka in boots, Rafa in shiny Gucci loafers, Minuit with bare feet. (read the rest of this shit…)