Netflix action film highlights beauty of Morocco’s Marrakech

Released on streaming service Netflix July 10, the action flick has received solid reviews for its dramatic sequences and star performance by Charlize Theron.

Saturday 25/07/2020
This image released by Netflix shows Charlize Theron, left, and Kiki Layne in a scene from “The Old Guard”. (Aimee Spinks/Netflix via AP)
This image released by Netflix shows Charlize Theron, left, and Kiki Layne in a scene from “The Old Guard”. (Aimee Spinks/Netflix via AP)

Casablanca - Superhero film “The Old Guard” is renewing attention in Morocco’s imperial city of Marrakech, the setting of a magical centuries-long battle between its star-studded protagonists.

Released on streaming service Netflix July 10, the action flick has received solid reviews for its dramatic sequences and star performance by Charlize Theron. It has also opened viewers’ eyes to the ancient beauty and charm of Marrakech, a popular tourist spot whose old medina, extravagant palaces and city squares are highlighted in the movie’s central scenes.

Italian news agency ANSAmed wrote that “the ‘Pink City’ plays something similar to the role of a primadonna” in the movie, taking viewers on a journey across its “magical atmosphere” that is used to depict the landscapes of three countries.

A file picture shows tourists in the square of Jemaa el-Fnaa mosque in Marrakesh. (AFP)
A file picture shows tourists in the square of Jemaa el-Fnaa mosque in Marrakesh. (AFP)

“We had to create three countries within Morocco,” director Gina Prince-Bythewood told RadioTimes.com. “The beauty of Morocco is the landscape is so different throughout that we were able to realistically create Afghanistan, and realistically create South Sudan.”

Actor Marwan Kenzari added to the media outlet: “I thought Morocco was a great experience and a beautiful country, and it has all these beautiful colours in its landscapes, and buildings.”

In addition to Marrakech’s Jama El Fnaa square, the film weaves viewers through other landmark spots in the North African kingdom, including “El Fenn hotel, the Berber village of Obaki on the Plateau du Kik (a region in the Atlas mountains), as well as the market of Jemaa el-Fnaa, or the locations of Tamansourt, Harbil, Tayzelt, the Agafay desert, Boukhriss or Kettara,” noted Ana Rodriguez for Atalayar.

Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood based on a graphic novel written by Greg Rucka, “The Old Guard” tells the story of a group of immortal warriors on a revenge mission. In addition to Theron, the film features actors Kiki Layne, Matthias Schoenaerts and Kenzari.

Critic Stephanie Zacharek of Time Magazine praised the film as “almost certainly the best action entertainment of the season.”

Employees opening the main door to the the legendary Marrakesh hotel La Mamounia. (AFP)
Employees opening the main door to the the legendary Marrakesh hotel La Mamounia. (AFP)

“ If you think you’re not an action-movie or comic-book-movie person, this one could change your mind,” she wrote. “The Old Guard feels fresh, even as it honors the best traditions of its genre.