The Attack by Ziad Doueiri just opened in US cinemas and is receiving great reviews. It’s a movie adaptation from the book by Yasmina Khadra about a Palestinian surgeon who lives in Tel Aviv and loses his wife in a suicide bombing. After being told that she is a prime suspect, he embarks on a trip to his home town to carry his own investigation in order to uncover the truth along with her darkest secrets.
The ensemble cast complemented each others performance and had an organic connection. Ali Suleiman owned the screen and took us with him through his emotional journey. Karim Saleh nailed the Palestinian accent and delivered a beautiful heartfelt monologue. The Israeli actors Dvir Benedek, Uri Gayriel and Reymond Amsalem were extremely convincing.
The movie is authentic and that’s what makes it special. Most productions from the Middle-East are badly cast with actors that are there-just-for-the-sake-of-being-there without offering any reality to their character whatsoever. This also happens with American films when non-english speaking actors deliver their lines in English despite the story taking place in a foreign setting. In this film, the actors spoke Hebrew in Israel and Arabic in Palestine; It was believable.
I personally admire Mr. Doueiri for his guts and for sticking to this film despite all the obstacles he has faced – mostly ones that arose from his own native country. IE. Our beloved censorship-crazed Lebanon and its neighboring nations. Despite the investors pulling out, the boycotts and objections from both the Zionist and the Pro-Palestinian clans, he fought for his right to share his work and succeeded with flying colors.
The director is not concerned with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict per se. The adaptation is objective in the sense that it does not take any sides; it simply invites the audience to understand both opposing point of views. As Mr.Doueiri clearly states, this movie is a love story that takes you on a moving journey rather than it being a political propaganda. After all, the entire premise of the film revolves around the idea that you think you can know someone completely but you never can.
I realized that people in the Middle-East have a tendency to crush the work of the individuals who swim counter-courant. The moment someone offers a perspective that is different from the norm, everyone jumps on their high horses and rushes with unjustified judgements. That’s the difference between the States and the Arab world. While the US is great at identifying, nurturing and elevating talent; my country enjoys ignoring, destroying and diminishing them.
Unfortunately, this movie has been banned in Lebanon and most of the Arab world. I consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity to watch it in a private screening that took place in New York. This is a legitimate film that was shot beautifully by a talented director with some brilliant acting along with an intriguing plot. Regardless of your political beliefs, it deserves a chance to be seen.