Paradise Now -- written and directed by Hany Abu-Assad -- won a Golden Globe in 2006 for best foreign film and was nominated for an Oscar the same year. It's a well done exploration of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict from an ordinary Palestinian's point of view.
Said and Khaled have been friends since boyhood. They're picked by a militant group as suicide bombers. Believing they are guided by God to do so, the young men get strapped up and ready to go. On the way to Jerusalem, something goes wrong. Israeli troops chase them and they're separated.
Separation screws up the plan.
Kais Nashif plays Said like a deer caught in headlights. He walks robot-like through life, clearly miserable in a land that is little more than a series of checkpoints. Said considers it a prison. Khaled, played by Ali Suliman, is full of life, and believes God wants him to kill, but eventually isn't sure the message is really coming from God.
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This is where the debate gets more intense.
Paradise Now explores why these young men and women believe drastic events like suicide bombings are the way to go. Many believe God is guiding them to kill for revenge. Some -- like Said -- volunteer as a way to pay for the past sins of their fathers. Others think the suicide bombings and other violence gains nothing.
All of this is brilliantly woven into a deep and powerful script.
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Director: Hany Abu-Assad
Stars: Kais Nashif, Ali Suliman, Lubna Azabal
Mr. Movie rating: 4 1/2 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes. It's playing Friday, April 25 only at the Battelle Auditorium at 8:00 p.m.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.