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'The Attack' review: A well-balanced thriller

A still from the movie

A still from the movie "The Attack." Photo Credit: Handout

"The Attack" is a mélange of international elements: Based on the bestseller by Algerian novelist Yasmina Khadra (the pen name of Mohammed Moulessehoul) and directed by Lebanese-born cinematographer Ziad Doueiri, it stars Palestinian actor Ali Suliman ("Paradise Now"), is set in Tel Aviv, and manages to make intelligent cinema out of a thoroughly sensational premise: A successful Palestinian doctor in Israel learns -- to his utter bewilderment -- that his wife may have been responsible for the suicide bombing that killed a dozen children.

As the doctor, Amin (Suliman) walks an investigative tightrope, trying to wrap logic around what the police are telling him about his wife, Doueiri pulls off his own balancing act, managing to create a kind of pure suspense out of a nuanced and knotty political backdrop and a story line (adapted by Doueiri and Joelle Touma from Khadra's book) that is unavoidably complex and deeply character-driven: At the center of the plot is a man suddenly thrown into doubt about the woman he was married to. And who is also, suddenly, a widower, and an outsider in a country that had offered him opportunity and success. Aside from all its dramatic virtues, "The Attack" is also a remarkable accomplishment in the way Doueiri synthesizes intrigue, realpolitik and emotional devastation into something that manages to entertain as well as edify.

PLOT A Palestinian doctor practicing in Tel Aviv learns his wife may have been a suicide bomber.

RATING R (language, violence, sexual content)

CAST Ali Suliman, Reymond Amsalem, Evgenia Dodena


BOTTOM LINE Delicately executed thriller balances its political baggage with unflagging suspense. (In Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles)


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