Paradise Now Movie Review
A powerful, emotional and relevant film, "Paradise Now" is one of the most exceptional movies of 2005. About two potential suicide bombers in the West Bank, this movie offers a new and more human look at what drives men to destroy themselves in the name of freedom.
Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Picture, "Paradise Now" stars Kais Nashef and Ali Suliman as two close friends, Said and Khaled respectively, who have never been outside of the West Bank and work rather low-end jobs as mechanics. While there is the prospect of romance between Said and one of his close female friends, the occupation of Israel seems to overshadow everything. When Said and Khaled are suddenly informed that they have been selected to die tomorrow in retaliation for an Israeli attack, things suddenly spiral out of control, forcing the men to face their fear and their beliefs.
This film is simply incredible. At times at funny but always real, the movie is riveting from beginning to end. At a running time of only 90 minutes, the movie moves incredibly fast, yet never loses its message. The screenplay is perfect and is extremely believable; these are two men who live seemingly ordinary lives, but are willing to die for their beliefs. Are their motives warranted? Are their methods appropriate? It is up for debate, but it is questions like those that should be raised.
Most impressive is the look of the film, which is Hollywood quality. Director Hany Abu-Assad has created a gritty but not overly so film of life in the West Bank and the people stuck within. The film looks terrific. Enough said.
"Paradise Now" should not be overlooked, as it is one of the finest films to come out in a long time. In a year of disappointing Hollywood films, it is nice to see that foreign films are once again upping their game.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.