In the engaging dramedy Limbo, writer-director Ben Sharrock follows the daily monotony of a group of refugees awaiting the processing of their cases on a remote Scottish island. The primary focus is on Syrian refugee Omar (Amir El-Masry), who struggles between the weight of his desire to fulfill his family’s increasingly conflicting wishes and the goal of building a new future for himself. Providing momentary respite from the tension of his thoughts are a cast of characters from a range of countries, all finding themselves stuck in a temporary holding facility on the island.

Both engaging amongst themselves, and with the odd local townsfolk and inane refugee center staff, the personalities are quirky without being depersonalizing, as the characters’ individual desires for new futures and to escape their pasts remains poignant throughout. Sharrock and cinematographer Nick Cook utilize the broad and murky Scottish landscape to create lingering shots and a sense of a glacial creep of time as our characters wait to hear their fates. Beautifully shot and thoughtfully paced, Limbo accomplishes the rare feat of finding the subtle balance between the comedy and tragedy of being stuck in place as the world moves forward.