Based in a London suburb Mahmud Nasir lives with his pretty wife, Saamiya, and two children, Rashid and Nabi. His son plans to marry Uzma, the step-daughter of Egyptian-born Arshad Al-Masri, a so-called 'Hate Cleric' from Waziristan, Pakistan. Mahmud, who is not exactly a devout Muslim, he drinks alcohol, and does not pray five times, but does agree that he will appease Arshad, without whose approval the marriage cannot take place. Shortly thereafter Mahmud, while going over his recently deceased mother's documents, will find out that he was adopted, his birth parents were Jewish, and his name is actually Solly Shimshillewitz. He conceals this information from his family, and with the help of his neighbor, Leonard Goldberg, tries to understand the Jews, their religion and even locates his birth-father, who is on his death-bed in a nursing home. Mahmud does not know that Arshad has been checking into his background, has videotaped him setting fire to a Jewish cap during a protest, and ... Written by
After Mahmud sees that Lenny has parked his taxi cab on his parking cones, he begins to walk over to Lenny's house to confront him about it. On the way, he walks past a car and the camera crew is reflected in its side. See more »
When I saw the trailers of The Infidel, I thought that it was going to be a crude comedy which wanted to exploit the controversy of the Jewish-Muslim conflict in order to attract attention. However, I decided to watch it because of the various positive reviews I read on the Internet, and I am glad I did it, because even though The Infidel has an undoubtedly tabloid aspect, it also is a brilliant comedy with a very funny screenplay, interesting characters and a valid message which might not be shared by everyone, but which at least offers a conciliatory point of view about the previously mentioned conflict.
To start with, I liked the agility and consistence of the humor, as well as the surprising variety of topics exploited by the screenplay in order to generate laughs. There are obviously many references to the dispute between Israel and Palestine, to the Islamic extremists and their "jihad" (whose slogans of racial extermination sound very different when they are said by a 4-year-old girl) and of course, all the imaginable clichés about the Jewish culture ("they have a big nose and they like the money"). But there is also place for hilarious mentions of Seinfeld, the Protocols of Zion, Osama Bin Laden and Fiddler on the Roof.
I suppose that some people would feel offended by the sense of humor from The Infidel. Even if they are orthodox Jews who do not approve of the burning of yarmulkes with a funny intention, or Muslims who feel themselves unfairly portrayed as violent and intolerant extremists, I know that there will be undoubtedly someone who disapproves of the film's methods, as good as its intentions are. I think that The Infidel features positive and negative aspects from both religions on equal measure...and it's up to every spectator how he/she will take that. And besides, I also think that it is difficult to take the religious insults or comments about racial purity seriously when they come from the mouth of such likable and expressive actors. Omid Djalil is perfect as the overwhelmed Mahmud. Richard Schiff brings an equally excellent and funny performance as a Jewish North American taxi driver. And Archie Panjabi also brings a very good work as the main character's wife.
I have to point out the fact that I enjoyed The Infidel very much without having deep knowledge about the cultures and religions it represents; so, I think it is more appropriate to consider it as an great comedy which offers an interesting moral, and not as a revisionist History lesson nor as a manipulative religious pamphlet.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?