Combustible Celluloid
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With: Kais Nashef, Ali Suliman, Lubna Azabal, Amer Hlehel, Hiam Abbass
Written by: Hany Abu-Assad, Bero Beyer, Pierre Hodgson
Directed by: Hany Abu-Assad
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic material and brief strong language
Language: Arabic with English subtitles
Running Time: 90
Date: 02/14/2005

Paradise Now (2005)

2 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Here we have another in a recent collection of booby-trapped movies full of socio-political significance and patched together as an artless glob. This time, the movies wonder what really happens in the heads of Palestinian suicide bombers. The War Within was the first failed attempt, and Paradise Now is the second. Two Palestinian mechanics, and best friends, Said (Kais Nashef) and Khaled (Ali Suliman), find themselves chosen for the next big mission. They show up at the meeting place, shave their heads and beards, and don black suits. They make a video that will apparently go up for sale in many neighborhood shops. But -- as expected -- their mission hits a glitch, otherwise there wouldn't be a movie. The friends get separated and one friend has until sundown to track the other down. Moreover, Said has just met the beautiful girl of his dreams Suha (Lubna Azabal). Will he leave her behind? To put a point to it, Paradise Now takes a volatile story and jams it into the framework of a Hollywood template. Certainly it's easier for Western audiences to digest this tough material, but it short-changes everyone in the process.

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