“The Attack” Puts a Face on Terrorism
By Skip Sheffield
“The Attack” puts a face on terrorism: that of lovely Israeli actress Reymond Amsalem.
She plays Siham Jafaari, wife of Amin Jafaari (Arab Israeli actor Ari Suliman), a much-respected Arab-born surgeon working at a hospital in Tel Aviv.
“The Attack” is written and directed by Lebanese-born Ziad Doueiri and based on the best-selling 2005 novel by Algerian-born Yasmina Khadra. As the film opens, Amin Jaafari is being presented an award by the Israeli Society of Surgeons. It is the first time an Arab has won the prestigious award. Dr. Jafaari thanks his fellow physicians profusely and expresses gratitude to the State of Israel for allowing him to live and practice medicine there.
There is only one thing marring Dr. Jafaari’s triumphant moment. His wife is not there.
The reason becomes apparent soon enough. An explosion goes off in another part of town and Dr. Jafaari is called into the emergency room to treat survivors of a terrorist’s bomb. Adding to the tragedy, most of the 17 victims are children. There is a mutilated adult corpse that Dr. Jafaari does not notice as it is wheeled in. Later that night when officers of
Shin Bet security force show up at his apartment, Dr. Jafaari receives the shocking
news that the suicide bomber was his wife.
“Do you ever really know the one you love?” is the ad campaign slogan and the central question of “The Attack.” Through flashbacks we see the loving and warmly sensual relationship between Amin and Siham Jafaari. We also see clues that Dr. Jafaari missed.
While Dr. Jafaari is able to convince the Shin Bet he had no prior knowledge of his Christian-raised wife’s radical Islamic conversion, he must learn for his own sake how he could have missed such an obvious transformation.
“The Attack” becomes a mystery tale as Amin Jafaari travels to his wife’s Palestinian home town to find clues to her radical transformation. The locals are not very cooperative.
“The Attack” has been banned by the Arab League as being too sympathetic to
Some Jews have condemned it as being too sympathetic to Palestine and radical Islam.
To me that indicates a pretty fair balance. You won’t find any definitive answers to the nature of terrorism in “The Attack,” but you will find a reasonably suspenseful and deeply sorrowful tale of a man who no longer has a country he can call his own.