Paradise Now (2005)
Genre: Crime Drama (Palestine, France, Germany, Netherlands, Israel)
Starring: Kais Nashef, Ali Suliman
Directed By: Hany Abu-Assad
Overview: Two Palestinian friends become suicide bombers, but on the day of the assignment, their lives become a little more complicated.
Acting: The director obviously focussed a lot of energy on getting the takes just right. The acting is really powerful, very impressive and this, more than anything, is what will impress the judges at the Oscars. The one who plays Said (above) is amazing.
Cinematography: Though a good effort was made to make the look of the film reflective of the culture and the like, I didn't find anything special about it overall. Not super-spectacular, but good.
Script: The writing was decent. The explanations about Said's father, his past and their reasons for accepting such a path are well explained. Still with all that I didn't find it all that exciting or ultra-original, so well give it the standard.
Plot: The story has a terrific ending, but sadly the ending is but a mere 2-3 minutes. The lead up and the hiccup on their first attempt wasn't that exciting, and though the movie is fairly predictable, it took a path that I didn't want it to go. Good movie, don't get me wrong, but nothing special.
Mood: This carries really well. The city, the feeling of being oppressed, crushed by those around them, contrasted with that woman whose hope and call for peace is easilly dismissed since she's an out-of-towner. In a way this film cried out the hoplessness Palestine faces in life, seeing only extremist revolution as a way to do something important. Really well done. Great perspective.
Aftertaste: Well wouldn't you know it, for the first time in history someone's petitioned the Oscars to withdraw a nomination for an award. I guess we know now that this film will NOT win best foreign film, but "a group of Israelis who lost children to Palestinian suicide bombings" collected 32,000 signatures to have this movie removed. Might I mention that this was produced and directed by Israelis? What a joke. Someone makes a movie explaining their point of view (rather than resorting to extremist tactics), and Israel STILL has problems with it. Argh!