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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
This is one very riveting psychological drama that just continues to evolve it's statement of purpose throughout the well plotted piece. Working on a tiny budget, this film was shot on less expensive equipment in merely 15 days, but the movie still manages to be about as relevant and fresh as is possible in a post 9/11 context. The hopefully soon-to-be-known Jeff Stanzler weaves into his tiny project about a mysterious, bitter divorcée and a humble Arabic cab driver, the psychological micro and macro-cosmos revolving around the current political climate viewed through an emotionally unstable context. Truly tough to describe the profound themes examined and revealed in this movie without taking away from the wonderful grace which with those plot devices are announced, but we can definitely assume that the two lead performers do an extraordinary job at keeping the material grounded and relative, however irrational the final result may be- it is nonetheless strikingly potent, and an all too rare refresher into the darkness and secrets one mind may be able to harbor while always looking the other way in front of a population.
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