+Good drama +Good directing +-Slightly less visually slick and stylish than higher budget dramas -A lot of characters to keep track of, hence less time for character development
The basic story is of a Moroccan hustler named Khaled who lives in Amsterdam at the center of a complicated web of love, crime, deceit and true friendship. He steals to survive, and the script is like a snapshot of Khaled's life at it's most important crossroad - when all of his chickens have returned home to roost, and when his life could slow down dramatically or spiral completely out of control.
Through Khaled's story the viewer meets _______, a warm hearted man who lives and travels with his partner _______; Hanna, a German on a holiday from hell with her two battling parents; Roos, an impressionable Dutch girl whose two crazy brothers have joined Khaled in a life of crime; John, a charming visitor from New York whose wife (played by Marisa Tomei) is too erratic for him to handle but too rich for him to leave. Khaled's brother has been trying to bring him news from Morocco, but gets tangled up with a police detective who is hunting Khaled down.
This is a film showing an Amsterdam as a reluctant melting pot of diverse families - NOT a Disneyland of pot and prostitutes. It seems like a place where it's easy to pass through, but to actually live and survive there is difficult. The overlapping of stories will remind some of other films like "Crash" and "La Linea", and also of grittier ensemble dramas like "Traffic" and "Life is Hot in Cracktown".
Don't be turned off by the slightly video/television look of the film, especially its opening scenes. It is definitely a film worth watching and appreciating.