Monday, September 04, 2006

The War Within

The business of war has, as expected by the top dogs in power in the US, boosted the two biggest American industries: defense and Hollywood (makes sense, actually). And it's interesting to see which films manage to actually get made but still don't make the cut for Hollywood distribution -- that be-all, end-all powerhouse that determines whether your film has any chance whatsoever of being exposed to the larger public.

"The War Within" didn't make the cut for obvious reasons: the whole premise of the film is about a normal university student who transforms into a would-be suicide bomber in the States after being severely tortured by the CIA for mistakenly being suspected of having links to extremist organizations.

An exceptional cast, led by co-writer Ayad Akhtar, has managed to bring to life the intricacies and sensitivities of this tragic story of the internal conflict of a young man who is deeply entrenched in his Islamic culture and at the same time profoundly in love with a young woman, Duri (in a passionate performance by Nandana Sen), who is completely out of touch with it. In the end, even as we witness his struggle against himself, it is impossible to understand or even to believe it.

"The War Within" like other stories such as "Syriana" and "Paradise Now" helps us to visualize possible motivations and foundations of suicide bombing, all the while questioning the politico-religious ideologies and powers that lead to it. What we most obviously extract from such films is that suicide bombing is sad and it's scary and nobody, even the bomber himself, is at peace with so horrific a consequence.

Labels: ,