Film Review of Rock the Kasbah

By: Erin Aulfinger

On Friday, October 23, the movie “Rock the Kasbah” hit cinemas. Based on the true story of Setara Hussainzada, it follows Richie Lanz (Bill Murray), a down-in-the-dumps talent manager, who randomly decides to go to Afghanistan with Ronnie (Zooey Deschanel), his current client. However, his path drastically changes and leads him to the spectacular—and forbidden—singing talent Salima (Leema Lubany).

All of the actors do a fantastic job. There are plenty of personalities who successfully draw in various demographics. Deschanel attracted younger audiences. Bruce Willis, who took the role of a brusque mercenary, has a devoted fan base. And some may find the emerging talent in Lubany interesting.   

The scenery was beautiful, and every frame was correctly proportioned. Every transition scenes provided plenty of little clues for the audience to notice, or stunning shots for them to drool over. Each scene was given the audio backdrop of Cat Stevens, which held a certain relevance to the storyline, and faded in and out with precision.   

But while the storyline, casting, and soundtrack was promising, the delivery was disappointing.   

When it came to the flow of the film, the editing left a bad taste in my mouth. There were awkward moments of dead air as actors deliberated lines, followed by sections of plot jumped over in favor of more exciting events. This occurs several times in the movie. Normally, this wouldn’t be an issue, considering the audience gets the essential information. Yet there are still points which could use more meat. 

At the very beginning, the scene switches from an ugly dive bar where Ronnie is singing cover songs to a beautifully decorated Afghani airplane. There’s something in between that the audience may want to see. 

How did Ronnie react to Richie’s decision?

Why would she agree? 

These are questions that remain unanswered. Later, a serious tragedy occurs, and the opportunity for a heart-wrenching resolution is missed. The characters never come to terms with each other, and overall proves to lack the excitement we desired from the danger already given.     

All of these little gaps would have been perfect places to add comedy, drama, or even just simple character development. As films go, “Rock the Kasbah” promised the best, but fell short of my expectations. 


Erin Aulfinger is a Freshman studying Creative Writing at Christian Brothers University and a staff writer at the Galleon. 

Posted by Josh Colfer at 9:51 AM

The Galleon is curated and managed by Christian Brothers University, a Memphis-based university founded in the Lasallian tradition (a sect within the Catholic faith). Part of our founding mission is to uphold respect for all persons-regardless of political, religious, or social beliefs. As an institution, we take no stand on political matters; to do so would undermine our commitment to intellectual inquiry and thoughtful response to events taking place in our World by members of the CBU community.

Share This: