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Chiel van de Wolf,
With a PhD in Chemistry, devout and bearded, Syria-born Ashade Mouhana (Abdellatif Kechiche) drives a cab in New York, and must accept financial assistance from friends who attend the Islamic Council of America so that he can pay a lawyer to get his Canadian brother, who is being detained as a '2nd tier suspect', released. He also has to look after his toddler nephew and French-speaking Caucasian sister-in-law, Eloise (Elodie Bouchez), and is fearful that his brother may be tortured in Syria. One night he befriends a passenger, who identifies herself as Phyllis (Robin Wright Penn), claims she is Head of Programming of Q-Dog Television, sympathizes and offers to assist him get his brother released. He gets a shock when she asks him to carry out an act of terrorism as retribution against America. He walks away, and subsequently finds out that she has stolen his money. Shortly thereafter, his cab is confiscated by secret agents, and Eloise is held for questioning. Vengeful, he shaves off... Written by
Good psychological thriller with an interesting perspective on the damage of hate
This film is both a psychological thriller and a comment on the damage that hatred inflicts. On several levels it can make you look at people's actions and how it can happen that we can become driven by our negative impulses rather than by compassion and understanding. Also the film looks at how the pressures to achieve success, feel loved and wanted, and have a sense of personal empowerment dominates modern life, and when people feel like failures in these realms, the inclination to become bitter and then lash out somehow can take over. Robin Wright Penn does an excellent job of portraying the main female character -- with the risk of giving too much away here, she makes this woman a composite of both sensitivity and instability so that there is a growing awareness of unpredictability concerning her actions and where the movie is going. Abdel Kechiche, the actor who plays the Syrian cab driver, is compelling as well.
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