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THE ATTACK (review)

lattentat_ver2THE ATTACK
Written and Directed by Ziad Doueiri

Starring Ali Suliman and Reymond Amsalem

I think it’s fair to say that most people would not suspect that when your wife calls you while you’re in the middle of something important and you can’t talk, that she might be on the other line trying desperately to get you to hear her before she does something she cannot come back from. It is a split moment in your life and one that most people dismiss as if it were just as inconsequential as it seems. For Amin (Ali Suliman), this is as far from the truth as is possible. For when his wife Siham (Reymond Amsalem) hangs up the phone after being dismissed by her husband, she carries out a suicide bombing in Tel-Aviv and kills 17 people, including 11 children. And with that, festival hit, THE ATTACK, shows us not only how a bomb can blow up a place for political purpose, but how it can also destroy a marriage as well.

Writer/Director, Ziad Doueiri, is very smart about how he presents the facts to us. Going in, you know the premise of the film to some extent, so it is clear to us that Siham is trying, in the only ways she can think of, to give Amin some sort of sign that she is about to blow up their lives. Amin is entirely caught up in his own story though and does not notice that something in his home life is amiss. Naturally, when it happens, when Siham blows herself up, Amin is completely thrown. In fact, for a long while, he is in complete denial that his wife could have even been involved in this plot, no matter what evidence surfaces to suggest otherwise. Both Amin and Siham are Palestinian converts living in Tel-Aviv so Amin becomes a natural suspect as well in the investigation. One minute he is the first Arab to receive a prestigious award of recognition for his contribution to the medical community, and the next he is being interrogated and tortured. One minute, he is respected and the next he is seen as the enemy.

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Aside from its very frank and very revealing political elements, THE ATTACK also has a very effective emotional element that carries throughout the film. Doueiri is sure to show us what it was like for Amin and Siham to have met and fallen in love. After all, it is difficult for you and I to conceptualize how someone can strap a bomb to their chest and destroy so many lives in one instant. Imagine then how incredibly impossible it must be for any one man to grasp how the woman he was in love with for fifteen years could be capable of such atrocity without that man having any inkling of that side of her. Essentially, when he wasn’t looking, she was a whole other person. THE ATTACK tries to figure out how this could happen, and while it does provide some insight into the minds of the attackers, it is also smart enough to know that we may never fully understand this madness.

4

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