Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Capsule Review: Paradise Now (2005)

A measured and often intense rumination on conviction, friendship and death, Hany Abu-Assad's Paradise Now follows two close friends, Said and Khaled, who are chosen by an extremist group in the West Bank to perpetrate a suicide bomb attack in Tel-Aviv. We witness the two men go through their final night, spending time with family, before being bathed, shaved and dressed in fine suits for their eventual martyrdom. Abu-Assad generally resists the urge to speechify, instead having the inner conflict play out in the mannerisms and eyes of his two main actors - particularly Kais Nashif as Said, who carries an unforgettable weight in his gaze. A beautiful and poignant film dealing intelligently and sensitively with a difficult topic, Paradise Now well deserved its slew of awards (including a fest foreign film nomination at the Oscars).

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