Cairo police detective Noredin Mustafa is an ordinary corrupt cop. He’s handed the case of a singer found murdered in a Nile Hilton hotel room and soon discovers the dead woman’s secret relationship with the hotel owner—a wealthy developer and member of parliament. While searching for the only witness, an undocumented Sudanese maid, he’s abruptly ordered to close the case. But Noredin continues, and the investigation leads to an “untouchable” elite who runs the country, immune from justice.
Tarik Saleh’s (Metropia) third feature is a riveting Egypt-inflected noir with the requisite corruption, cynicism, smoking, and forsaken city, where everyone wants their cut. Set on the eve of Egypt’s 2011 uprising, it shrewdly twists the genre to examine political power, decadence, and life on the margins. Its unlikely hero, Noredin, is a hard-drinking, divorced loner who lives off dirty money. But as his father says, “You can’t buy dignity.” Can a corrupt cop mete out justice? Ultimately, Noredin’s moral struggle is overtaken by history. Where in noir corruption breeds corruption, here it breeds revolution.