In this drama based on Yasmina Khadra’s 2005 bestseller, Lebanese-born director Ziad Doueiri grapples with tough questions of national, cultural and personal identity. The film opens as renowned surgeon Amin Jaafari (Ali Suliman), an Arab-Israeli established in secular Tel Aviv society, accepts top honors in his field, only to be called to work. Victims of a suicide bombing are piling up—and Amin’s wife is among them. More tragic still, she’s immediately pinned as the perpetrator, an accusation that blindsides her husband. Acute shock and denial set Jaafari on a fact-finding mission into the decidedly non-secular West Bank, where his spouse’s sacrifice provides him neither answers nor basic safety. The assimilated Arab-Jew is now the odd man out, everywhere. As the disbelieving husband, Suliman is an internal study in grief, betrayal and the desperate task of fathoming the unfathomable: “We’re not Islamists or Christian fanatics,” one of his wife’s rebel colleagues says. “We’re just a ravaged people that’s fighting with whatever we can to recover our dignity.” Director Doueiri poses these questions analytically and unflinchingly, even when he plods into dogma—though not politics, wisely. Flashbacks fill in the loving relationship between husband and wife but ultimately cannot explain the divide between the rational and the irrational that haunts Jaafari—nothing can. Perhaps The Attack’s greatest success is its fundamental unknowability.
- Running Time:
- Release Date: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
- MPAA Rating: R
- Critic's Score: B-
- Watch the trailer