|Courtesy of Cohen Media Group|
2013, 102 minutes
Rated R for some violent images, language and brief sexuality
Review by Joshua Handler
Ziad Doueiri’s The Attack is one of the most enlightened and enlightening films I’ve seen in ages. It is one of those movies that only comes along once in a while and knocks me out. It is based on a novel and follows the story of an Arab surgeon, Amin (Ali Suliman), who lives in Tel Aviv and discovers that his wife was harboring a very dark secret, a secret that leads to the unraveling of Amin’s world.
The Attack is a breath of fresh air because, while very bleak, teaches a lesson of tolerance and calls for peace in the Middle East. This film depicts a really humanistic view of both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It calls for both sides to lay down their weapons and work something out using non-violent actions. The recent films about the aforementioned conflict, while very good, are bleak with no message of peace. They all show how horrible life is in the Middle East and show that there is no hope for anyone. They never offer solutions, unlike The Attack which shows that there is no hope if both sides continue to want to destroy each other and the word “if” is a step in the right direction. At least "if" implies a suggested solution. Most films of this nature don’t leave a message of peace and tolerance either, but this one does, making this an important film for people to view.
This film is masterfully executed by Doueiri and his cast. Doueiri’s direction is very tight and he keeps the story moving at a relatively fast pace. It is completely compelling and unpredictable. The calmness with which he directs the devastating final scenes is something most directors nowadays do not show. Doueiri has a gentle touch that serves this movie well. He doesn't tell this story as if he's angry. The passion is obviously there. It's just calm passion. Doueiri is also a brave director for telling the provocative story that he did and for not demonizing either side of the conflict. Additionally, the film is very cinematic in that all of the elements come together in perfect harmony.
Ali Suliman gives an excellent performance as the conflicted Amin and makes us really feel for him. The score adds to the cinematic feel of the film. The movie is a love story at its heart, and the score emphasizes this.
Overall, I cannot recommend The Attack enough. It has serious dramatic heft and is a true gem that must be seen by everyone, old and young. Parents should take their teens to this. This film illuminates an oft-covered topic with a fresh perspective and is one of my favorite movies of 2013 thus far. The Attack is a masterpiece.