Dr. Amin Jaafari is an assimilated Arab surgeon who seems to have it all with a promising career with honors among the Israelis in Tel Aviv. That all changes after a devastating terrorist suicide bombing and his beloved wife, Siham, is found among the dead as the primary suspect. Although initially refusing to accept that as Shin Bet interrogates him, Amin comes to realize the allegations are true. Now, the ostracized Amin resolves to find out on his own why Siham had so strong a conviction that she kept secret from him. However, the answers prove hard to come by and the truths involved have a terrible pain of their own. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
At times, our world seems littered with random acts of violence. Just a glimpse at any newspaper will sadly confirm that statement. A tragic event can befall anyone. Anytime. Anyplace. Suddenly, one's life can veer from happiness to despair within seconds. The senselessness of a violent act and the unending repercussions that follow will permanently change that life and send one reeling with questions in search of inexplicable answers. That is the premise of the Ziad's Doueiri's taut mystery thriller, The Attack.
Amin Jaafari (Ali Suliman), a successful Arab doctor living in Israeli, receives the tragic news that his wife, Kim (Reymond Amsalem), has died as a result of a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, only to discover later that his wife may have been the actual bomber. As Amin searches for the truth, he begins to question their former relationship, the political and religious unrest between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and the evil act itself.
This Lebanese film looks at the on-going Arab-Israeli conflict in realistic terms and tries to show both sides without a judgmental knee-jerk reaction. The director sensitively handles this material with much directness and foresight. He rarely flinches from the brutality and blind-sighted extremism that permeates both factions. (Yet this film has been banned from Israeli and many Arab countries due to its controversial subject matter, a reprehensible act which I find troubling and disgraceful in that many will not see this powerful and thought- provoking film.)
Doueiri and Joelle Touma co-scripted this drama based on Yasmina Khadra's novel and the results are literate and quite gripping. As Amin slowly unravels the clues to his wife's possible participation in this heinous crime, the audience is expertly drawn into this complicated ordeal with strong acting, especially by Suliman and Ansalem and Doueiri's solid direction. (Some of the clues do lack the element of surprise and seem a bit too obvious once revealed.)
But The Attack attacks its subject with an honesty and skillfulness that allows moviegoers to contemplate the actions of radicals and fanatics that continue to cause harm to so many innocent victims, shouting their political rants under the guise of religion. There are many powerful scenes containing violent images that show the carnage and destruction caused by years of hatred and revenge. The film elicits emotional debate with its well-developed characters and its straightforward confrontations that build to a stunning denouncement.
The Attack accomplishes its mission head-on and all those involved in this production should be commended for their courage and efforts. This solemn film is unafraid to deal with the complex issue of terrorism, even if fear and animosity have run amok in our changing world. The Attack needs to be seen. GRADE: B+
NOTE: The censorship of this important film only emphasizes the length that controlling government officials and religious zealots will go to to silence its people and promote their irrational agendas to perpetuate this endless cycle of violence. Hopefully, films like The Attack will, one day, bring about some peace and understanding that everyone deserves. Unfortunately, for now, the war rages on.
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