The Attack (2012)

The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is certainly a juice subject matter for a movie and while the whole “my wife was a suicide bomber unbeknownst to me” premise was very interesting, the follow up dealing with Amin trying to investigate how and why she would do such a thing didn’t manage to live up to the explosive start. The movie sets out to explore the conflict in a very ambitious way but I don’t think they quite manage to pull it off.  Amin’s quest for the most part feels very meandering and when he finally does manage to confront someone who might have been involved, it ends up being disappointing rather than insightful and cathartic. Siham’s conversion to radicalism also feels a bit shallow, you certainly get a sense of why she did it, but it never really manages to drive the point home and feel organic when we learn more about the circumstances. 

On a more positive side, the movie does a very good job of staying neutral on the conflict itself as well as displaying the complexity of the situation. Amin starts out as a proud, fully assimilated Arab living in Israel who cannot understand the attack only to grow more and more weary and accepting of what happened the more he starts to learn about the background of the attack. In more ways than one it is a very fascinating personal journey for his character. As for the two conflicting parties, Israel is not depicted solely good nor bad light and neither is the Palestinian populace, it’s very neutral and shades of grey on all sides. Even when Siham is revealed to be revered as a beloved martyr, with her posters found everywhere, it’s more about showing how the anti-Israel propaganda works  rather than glorifying the terrorist act itself.

Another thing I liked was how Amin’s grieving process and eventual acceptance of what happened was handled. He begins by reminiscing all the good times in his life with Siham, how he met her, their blossoming romance and eventual marriage, and it is only much later when his messy family connections and Amin’s acceptance that Siham was indeed the bomber that we start to see the more recent, ugly side of their marriage and we learn how Amin himself indirectly influenced Siham’s eventual transformation to a suicide bomber with his narcissistic attitude and perhaps overbearing and possessive demands towards Siham as a wife. But it’s just not enough go make up for the a bit aimless, and dull progression of the story and letdown of an ending.

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