Within the first five minutes of this feature you’re being presented with a horrific, aesthetic piece that bares likeness to City of God. This is ascertained through the use of narrative subtitles giving context clues. It isn’t trying to replicate it, though.

Directed by Jean Luc Herbulot.

It’s fueled by a more sensational and superficial mantra than what one could regard it as derivative of, however. It’s obvious it isn’t as outwardly gritty as what I initially regarded as being its predecessor.

Produced by Pamela Diop.

From its onset, this is a very visually pleasing film and engaging. However, the mercies occasionally bestowed upon civilians (and law enforcement) by the mercenaries is something worth noting. The trio aren’t just ruthless killers; instead, they’re businessmen (of sorts). Their later amicability towards police officer who fails in his efforts to ambush them them supports such an ideal – a mutual respect towards both duty and responsibility.

Written by:Jean Luc Herbulot & Pamela Diop.

It’s clear a lot of capital was invested into creating Saloum, making it worth the watch if one has a penchant for foreign cinema. It seems like non-western investors prioritize the intrinsic value of artistry more these days…

I feel like one must ruminate upon the humanity tacitly imbued upon a group of mercenaries f; the fact one of them is outraged about the destruction of one of his Prada shoes speaks for itself – and a sort of universal cohesion of materialistic values.

I feel like one must note the humanity tacitly imbued upon a group of mercenaries being gaslighted throughout their continent; the fact one of them is outraged about the destruction of one of his Prada shoes speaks for itself – and a sort of universal cohesion of materialistic values.

By Machiavellian standards the group are, by definition, ‘mercenaries’, taking into consideration their frequent arguments and reluctance to work as a fluid unit. Their individual egotism often takes prevalence. With one member’s amicability a deaf/mute lady attempting become a part of their covert endeavor; such a modicum of inner conflict is ascertained.

Ironically, each individual’s differing moral compass works to bolster the effectiveness of their unit – illustrating that ‘groups’ of mercenaries fit into such a philosophical argument where power’s concerned.

The method by which Saloum transitions from its blood laden introduction into being something psychological is impressive. It transitions from vivid depictions of violence to the group having to socially engineer a closely knit community; and assist another with pellet guns!

Depictions of night-terrors faced by members of the group work to present them as occurrences resultant of survivalist conditioning. The negative connotations often surrounding ‘mercenaries’ are also philosophically presented; with their capacity to do good (and bad) being amply conversed.

Once you learn the history of the group (not the negative folklore most often attributed to them,) Saloum offers the audience something most horror films lack, anti-heroes whom one could endorse. This revelation allows you to understand why they help the community in such a way.

The supernatural elements imbued into the latter half of the film are likely there for the sake of prosperity. The intricacies of film’s first half are incredible – and the genre-bending prevents Saloum from being regarded as a depressing vindication of Africa. Instead, you begin to realize you’re baring witness to a culturally significant presentation – the use of CGI in manifesting the ‘spirits’ involved promote such a conclusion.

The restraint employed by the film’s creators is commendable; especially when considering its budget. It’s quite possible that the ‘spirits’ and ‘curses’ are metaphorical representations of the natural afflictions affecting such locations; either that, or representative of the historical demons blighting particular characters. It’s unlikely a feature so profound would fall into absolute absurdity without some semblance of logic. 

Streaming on Shudder.

The notion of family being determined by bloodline is disparaged effectively through observing the behavior of Saloum’s occupants. Its overall message is one condemning submission to violent retribution.