THE ATTACK: A REVIEW

THE ATTACK is part of the Sydney Film Festival and has two final festival screenings, THUR June 13 (which has sold out) and SAT June 15 at 10am at Event Cinemas George St – tickets can be purchased HERE. Be sure to check out the entire program for the SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL HERE. This film does not have an Australian distributor so chances are this is your last chance to see it and from what Salty Kernel, Andrew Brusentsev, your SFF reviewing machine thinks – it is one to catch!

The Sydney Film Festival has never been one to look away from confronting film subjects or give important stories a voice on the international film circuit. The Arab-Israeli conflict is surely one of these. There have been some excellent and nuanced movies made on the subject both from brave Israeli film makers as well as their Arab counterparts.

 

THE ATTACK - a review from the Sydney Film Festival Movie
THE ATTACK – a review from the Sydney Film Festival Movie

 

THE ATTACK is a joint French/ Arabic co-production helmed by Ziad Doueiri, a Lebanese film maker who directs Yasmina Khadra’s excellent screenplay, of Joelle Touma’s novel.

THE ATTACK tells the story of Amin Jaafari (Ali Suliman), a brilliant Israeli surgeon of Arabic descent, who enjoys a comfortable and successful life in Tel Aviv. He and his wife have many Jewish friends. He is a pillar of not only the medical fraternity but also of his community. A man who is loved by all, he has many Israeli and Palestinian friends and is a role model for friendship between the people.

 

THE ATTACK - a review from the Sydney Film Festival Movie
THE ATTACK – a review from the Sydney Film Festival Movie

 

When the film starts Amin is on the verge of a major achievement. He is about to win Israeli’s top honour for a medical practitioner. This perfect harmonious existence is turned upside down after a suicide bombing in a restaurant leaves nineteen dead, many of them children. Amin himself treats many of the survivors and he is horrified and disgusted at this atrocity. His world is further turned upside down when the Israeli police inform him that his wife, Sihem (Reymonde Amsellem) not only was caught in the blast but is the prime suspect in the suicide bombing.

 

THE ATTACK - a review from the Sydney Film Festival Movie
THE ATTACK – a review from the Sydney Film Festival Movie

 

Convinced of her innocence despite overwhelming evidence, Amin begins to piece together the truth. Abandoning the relative security of his adopted homeland he ventures into the Occupied Territories in pursuit of answers or the men that are responsible. Once there Amin begins to realise how out of touch he is with his own family, his own people and who he believed his wife truly was. Still determined, he presses on seeking answers to questions he never thought he would be asking with people he thought he would never be asking them of.

This movie is powerfully spellbinding and significant in its examination of deep themes, most of which are not political at all. Rather they are the examination of dislocation from ones roots and also about secret lives that even the closest around us may have.

 

THE ATTACK - a review from the Sydney Film Festival Movie
THE ATTACK – a review from the Sydney Film Festival Movie

 

Suliman is superb in this role and if he was a Western actor surely would receive huge accolades and many many awards. The cast give him excellent support, although his wife (Amsellem) only appears in flashbacks, they are a powerful connect to the story. Evgenia Dodina and Dvir Benedek as Amin’s Jewish friends are solid. Uri Gavriel as a harsh but pragmatic Israeli intelligence officer is another small but powerful presence.

It is hard not to be truly moved by this movie which says many things on a range of topics, not in a bombastic way but allows its heartbreaking message to be spoken quietly. It is this quiet which is truly devastating. The conclusion it draws is stark and profoundly depressing. I know a good movie when I am still thinking about it three days later. This is one of them. Faultless and an important movie for everyone not matter what their beliefs on the situation to view.

 

4 and a Half Pops