The Netflix Report

Movie reviews from my Netflix queue. Highly personal and opinionated!

Try Netflix for Free!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Paradise Now

As I write this, the newspaper is reporting on yesterday’s suicide bombing attack in Tel Aviv that killed eight diners at a restaurant. Who would do such a thing? What do they think? Last night I watched “Paradise Now”, which chronicles two young Palestinian men in the West Bank called up by their terrorist cell to carry out a double suicide bombing in Tel Aviv the following day.

The film depicts life in the Israeli controlled West Bank as seen through the eyes of the Palestinians who live there. It looks at small aspects of their daily lives, their relationships, and gradually delves into their thoughts and beliefs that could lead them to suicide bombings as a self-justified tactic in their struggle.

The movie is very careful to put a human face on all the characters. Nobody is vilified as a cartoon evildoer and people have doubts and conflicts. There are those who believe the violence is wrong, there are those who are convinced it is the only way, and there are those who sway back and forth, unsure of what is right.

I was fascinated and drawn in to the drama. It showed a lifestyle and thought structure that I was completely unfamiliar with and gave the impression of reality. Nothing felt like a set or like movie script writing. The movie is a fictional movie creation and it doesn’t try to present events in a documentary style. There is no narration, no voice-over monologues by the characters explaining what they are thinking. There is very little soundtrack music. Just a naturally building familiarity with the characters and their situations.

The middle of the film has a slow section that lasts for maybe ten minutes of people trying to find one another as they race around the city. Apart from this bit I was impressed by the pacing and flow of the movie.

I recommend this highly. Apart from the obvious adult nature of the subject, there are no parental concerns. No sex, nudity, or violence. The movie does not use graphic death to showcase its points.

After watching the movie, watch the only special feature on the DVD, which is the theatrical trailer (the promotional piece advertising the film). Then continue with this review.

SPOILER ALERT! DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE FILM!
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
I was infuriated by the trailer. The main tagline is “From the most unexpected place, comes a bold new call for peace.” And at the end of the trailer, it closes with: “Sometimes the most courageous act is what you don’t do.”

This is completely opposite to the way the film portrays its message. The bomber who turns back is portrayed as a crying, sniveling coward, while the one who elects to carry out his mission is shown as a forceful, determined individual. The same dichotomy is shown when the two are reunited at the terrorist hideout after the aborted mission and have to decide whether to try again. Courage is clearly shown as the willingness to blow yourself up for the cause without wavering or hesitation.

The decision to showcase the film as a call for peace is a cowardly and deceptive advertising ploy by Warner Independent. They obviously figured in America’s current political climate it was the only way to get distribution and attendance. But it reeks of the same double talk and lies of public presentation that made Bush tell us he didn’t want war except as a last resort while already drawing up plans and appropriating funds from the Afghan budget.

1 Comments:

At 7:23 AM, Anonymous Glen Wong said...

It seems this film doesn't take a point of view on whether violence can be justified. Do you think that ambivalence is amoral or immoral? Clausewitz wrote that "war is merely the continuation of policy by other means". Are suicide attacks the extension of war by other means? If war is not the answer, can one be ambivalent about violence in general?

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home