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The Film

   This movie has an online cover Paradise Now (2005)
Directed By: Hany Abu-Assad


View Count: 1
Last Viewed:2006.03.22
First/Last Reviewed:2006.03.23/2006.04.10

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This is a film that is bound to upset many due to its political content. It follows two young Palestinians as they are being chosen for a suicide mission in Tel Aviv. If you were expecting a more moderate Palestinian voice in this film, you will be half-disappointed.

The film does have the courage to address the insanity of it all, denouncing violence as an ineffective means of resistance, and showing many higher-ranking Palestinians in fairly negative light. Yet, it persists in painting the two suicide bombers as essentially mixed up souls, otherwise good men forced to extremes by evil Israel. The film goes so far as showing one of them getting on a bus but backing down after he sees a young child (there have been suicide attacks targeted directly at kids over the years). Soon after though, we see him going into another bus filled with young Israeli soldiers (makes it OK then). Besides only making half a step towards moral unambiguity, the film fails in how it paints the transformation from secular disillusioned youth working at a garage to politically and religiously motivated Palestinian martyrs. It's not very believable.

The film however is not without merit. First of all, it's surprisingly well filmed and acted. The settings are particularly impressive as the film was actually filmed in Gaza. This is a place of the world not many get to see. The writing is also at times very well done, injecting dark humor in a lot of unexpected places. The scene when one of the men makes his farewell video statement is so difficult to watch, yet so darkly funny at the same time. This scene perfectly summarizes the film as an ambiguous piece that turned me off more often than not, yet offered enough unexpected turns to make it not entirely unredeemable. For a more compelling and rewarding look at the last days of a suicide bomber, check out the Indian film Terrorist, The (1999).

- Laurent Hasson