Movie Review: Paradise Now

Posted on June 10, 2006

This will be the first of many more movie reviews to come. My movie reviews are both an effort to show you all more of my interests outside of VC and technology as well as an outlet for my love of film. Enjoy and please do comment and share your thoughts.

Paradise NowThe first film I will take a look at is one I just finished watching. The film is called Paradise Now and I knew if I didn’t write about it tonight I wouldn’t be able to get to sleep. This 2005 film (winner of the 2006 Independent Spirit Award for Best Foreign Film) spans two days and chronicles the story of two young Palestinian men who agree to become suicide bombers and who, after being separated, have to decide whether or not to carry out the mission on their own.

The two main characters, Said (Kais Nashef) and Khaled (Ali Suliman), are childhood friends who grew up in the West Bank city of Nablus. Their lives seem hopeless. They hold dead end jobs, poverty is rampant and political oppression permeates the land. I had always wondered why someone would decide to go through with a suicide bombing plot. Now, after viewing this film that was shot on location in the gritty West Bank, I can see how people may think that suicide is their only way out and a way to become a hero to their people.

I’ll admit, I was a bit leery about this film as I thought it may turn out to be yet another piece of political propaganda. Thankfully it was not any such thing. The characters are rich, the emotions are raw and the cinematography is incredible. While tackling a very intense subject matter, Director Hany Abu-Assad manages to masterfully inject humor as well as romance into the film. The violence was artfully shot as well and allowed for the viewer to use his or her imagination to fill in the details.

Paradise now is a fantastic piece of film and it will entertain you regardless of your political stance or lack thereof. You will find yourself reevaluating everything you think you know about the conflict and I’m sure it will spur you to look a little deeper. I urge you to give this movie a shot. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Side-note: There are subtitles but please don’t let that stop you for watching the film.


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