Palestinians Said and Khaled, now in young adulthood, have been lifelong friends living in Nablus in the West Bank. They have both had what they consider a difficult life, now working side-by-side in unfulfilling jobs as auto mechanics in a small garage, being unfulfilling as difficult as the jobs were to get. Those difficult lives includes feeling like they are prisoners in the West Bank, Said who has only left the region once on a medical issue when he was six. They blame all their problems on the oppression by the Israelis. As such, they have volunteered and have been accepted by a Palestinian resistance group to carry out a suicide bombing mission in Tel Aviv: after the initial response to the first bomb, the second bomb would be detonated at the same site. Following the bombing, the resistance group would release pre-taped video messages of Said and Khaled confessing to the bombing in the name of God. The mission would require Said and Khaled to cross "illegally" into Israel. They are not afraid of death in light of their deaths having some meaning, and in feeling like their lives are like being dead anyway. In the process of carrying out the mission, they end up being separated which could jeopardize not only the mission but their individual lives without their death being in the name of a cause, that is if they cannot locate each other. In this their time apart, Said and Khaled may have time to think about what they are about to do, their thoughts not only shaped by their different family histories, but Said's budding friendship/romance with a young woman named Suha, the daughter of a wealthy and famed Palestinian, she who has only recently moved back to the West Bank after years living overseas. —Huggo
I thought this was a very powerful and well-made film. The acting was excellent, as are the script, direction, and cinematography. Perhaps the biggest challenge with a film on such a controversial topic is what position it takes, but as a moderate American Jew, I felt it took as objective a position as possible. It does not push one side or another, but merely tells one story about two men chosen for a suicide bombing mission. I was concerned there might be an attempt to get the viewer to sympathize with the would-be bombers, but did not find that to be the case. Ultimately, the story leads you to sympathize with the families and friends of these men, demonizes those who have led them down this path, and simply humanizes the men themselves. There have been some criticisms of the film for focusing too much on Palestinians and essentially reducing the Israelis in the film to background and setting, but I think this was necessary. This is not a documentary about suicide bombings; it is the story of two of the suicide bombers themselves.
- Oct 6, 2005
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