In the gripping opening minutes of Philippe Lacôte's mesmerizing feature debut, we watch as Run (the magnetic Abdoul Karim Konaté) enters a church, raises a gun, takes dead aim at his target—the Ivory Coast's Prime Minister—and fires. However, this grim assassin is no natural-born killer. One look into his tormented eyes and it's evident that uncommon circumstances and cruel twists of fate have conspired to put him in this treacherous position. As Run flees the scene, Lacôte whisks us back to the young man's more innocent days as an aspiring rainmaker before xenophobic militia leader “Admiral” (Alexandre Desane, charismatic and malicious in turns) recruits him, achieving a compelling narrative velocity that never relents despite excursions into enchanting magic realism. As the director’s picaresque fable evolves into a fraught account of the birth pains of the “new” Ivory Coast, it remains an enthralling character study and potent reminder that none of us can outrun our destiny.