The Attack is most avowedly "about" terrorism. But that's a subject, not the subject. The film, an arresting and upsetting one, is also about love, trauma, and trust, both within one particular marriage and within entire cultures.
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Imagine a male Lifetime movie fueled by Middle Eastern tensions, and you’d have Ziad Doueiri’s torn-from-Tel-Aviv’s-headlines melodrama, one which drops its handsome husband of a hero into a domestic nightmare.
On both a political and a personal level, the film is pessimistic, yes, but it feels truthful, and never lapses into easy cynicism.
A gripping, personal examination of a seemingly unresolvable conflict.
Mr. Doueiri creates characters, emotional colors and political contradictions that have the agonized sting and breathe of life.
On one level, The Attack is a mystery, but not the kind you think. It’s obvious from the start who detonated the bomb; the only question is why. It’s a question that probably cannot be answered to the satisfaction of anyone living outside Israel or the occupied territories.
All the same, as dramatized here, The Attack skirts perilously close to being an apologia for suicide bombing.
Doueiri has brilliantly and simply put a compassionate human face on a part of the world where ethnicity still trumps education, class and achievement, where even the successful face, at best, second-class citizenship in their own country.
Although the subject matter is inherently disturbing, it’s hard to imagine any audience remaining unmoved by this mournful tale.
The film is most interesting as an articulation of how its main character's initial status as an emblem of inter-religious understanding quickly dissolves following a suicide bombing.