Paradise Now

Paradise Now
Studio: Warner Independent Pictures
Rated: PG-13
Release Date: 2006-02-03
Cast: Lubna Azabal, Hiam Abbass, Ashraf Barhoum, Lubna Azabel, Amer Hiehel
Director: Hany Abu-Assad
Screenwriter: Hany Abu-Assad, Bero Beyer
WorkNameSort: Paradise Now
Our Rating: 3.00

Even with a Golden Globe under its belt, this controversial meditation on suicide-bomber politics was relegated to an "exclusive engagement" at Touchstar Cinemas' underdog Altamonte 8 – calling into question the true extent of Orlando's commitment to alternative filmic messages. But that's nothing compared to the questions posed by the movie itself, which renders its twin protagonists' countdown to martyrdom as a suspense story that keeps reminding us of the parallels between terrorism and mass entertainment. For a while as perversely compelling as Spielberg's Munich, the film sadly deflates as a narrative around the same time that its fuzzy ideology finally plays into the hands of its detractors: Despite some obligatory hand-wringing about the futility of meeting violence with violence, director/co-writer Hany Abu-Assad tellingly awards the last word to one of the bombers, who argues that the sin of Israeli occupation puts his own tactics beyond judgment. Um, no.