like the bereaved husbands of The
Descendants and Random Hearts, Dr.
Amin Jafaari is quite upset to learn his late wife had been unfaithful. However, rather than taking a lover, she had
betrayed him with violent anti-Semitic extremism. It is hard for the Arab Israeli doctor to
accept his wife was a suicidal terrorist, but he will come to partial share her
radicalism in Zaid Doueiri’s The Attack (trailer here), which opens tomorrow in New York.
and respected, Dr. Jafaari is about to receive Israel’s highest medical
award. His wife Siham is not with
him. She is visiting family in Nazareth,
or so she says. The next day a cruel
suicide bombing cuts through a young girl’s birthday party. Dr. Jafaari works alongside his colleagues
trying to save the victims. When he
returns home that night his wife is still not there. In the early morning hours, he is summoned to
identify her body. It seems she was at
that fateful café. In fact, she is
suspected of being the mass murderer.
Jafaari remains in denial throughout his rather strenuous interrogation. However, he finally starts facing facts when
a letter arrives from his now notorious wife.
Resigned to her guilt, he sets out for the anarchy zone to find the
person or persons who convinced her to commit such a cruel act.
its best, The Attack offers a
chilling Hoffer-esque examination of the fanatical true believer’s
mindset. The images of Siham Jafaari’s “martyrdom”
poster widely embraced by the “Palestinian” street are truly a disturbing sight
to behold. Unfortunately, just like its
overwhelmed protagonist, Doueiri’s film soon loses sight of those tiny broken
bodies that died on his operating table, forfeiting its soul as a result. Yet even still, The Attack evidently is not sufficiently anti-Israel to pass muster
with Hezbollah, whose servants have obediently banned the film in Lebanon,
despite Doueiri’s attempts to reassure the terrorist organization.
Suliman is a decent brooder as Dr. Jafaari, but he just does not convey the
complex maelstrom of contradictions that are supposedly churning away in his
psyche (but maybe really aren’t). While
Doueiri’s flashbacks and dream sequences of the Jafaaris as a couple are quite
evocative, the homicidal Siham is a wafer thin character that Reymond Amsalem
never fleshes out beyond her obvious symbolic value. At least Uri Gavriel is interesting to look
at, even if his Captain Moshe is a complete caricature. God forbid, but if one of your loved ones is
hurt in terrorist attack, you would want a cop like him on the case.
While Jafaari might be inclined to find his
separate peace, the film clearly wants viewers to become true believers. That is highly problematic. Indeed, The
Attack is undone by its clumsy didacticism.
Still, it is a wake-up call for Christians of good conscience, who
perhaps ought to more closely examine what our co-religionist clerics are
involved with in the West Bank.
Interesting at times, but not recommended, The Attack opens tomorrow (6/21) in New York at the Angelika
Labels: Films banned by Hezbollah, Terrorism in film, Uri Gavriel