Release Date: October 28th, 2005 (NYC-Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and Landmark Sunshine Cinemas) by Warner Independent Films.
The Cast: Kais Nashef, Ali Suliman, Lubna Azabal, Amer Hlehel, Hiam Abbas.
Directed by Hany Abu-Assad.
In Arabic with subtitles.
BASIC PREMISE: Two friends since childhood, Said (Nashef) and Khaled (Suliman), become suicide bombers.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Despite a predictable plot with very little action, Paradise Now still manages to be suspenseful. Said and Khaled begin as ordinary auto mechanics until they’re recruited to detonate a suicide bomb in Tel Aviv. This film shows the final, frightening hours of the suicide bombers as they struggle to hide their intentions from friends and family. Both men are willing to die because they already feel dead. They’re also promised by their recruiters that they will be rewarded in heaven after they die. The plot becomes more complicated when Khaled meets Suha (Azabal) because you know that she’s bound to find out about what’s really going on. Once the two men attach the bomb to their chest, detaching it would automatically detonate the bomb. They both get separated after one of them gets scared and runs away. However, in no time, they are together again to continue their mission. Suha does her best to stop them once Said shows her the bomb, but she ultimately fails. The harrowing scenes when they travel by bus and taxi to Tel Aviv add nail-biting suspense. Fortunately, just like in The War Within, the final bombing is never actually shown, which makes it more powerful because it leaves it to your imagination.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: It’s easy to get angry how any human being could justify killing themselves and others as the right thing to do. Terrorists are simply madmen, but this film makes them slightly more human than expected—they have doubts, feelings, regret, and sadness. However, the chilling fact remains that they are brainwashed by other madmen and ultimately become insane.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
THE BOTTOM LINE: A chilling, disturbing film with strong character development and high tension, despite very little action.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
The "P" Menu