Paradise Now Review

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At the end of this day, Saïd (Nashef) and Khaled (Suliman) will be dead. They will be remembered - for better or for worse - as suicide bombers.


Saïd (Nashef) and Khaled (Suliman) seem like ordinary Palestinian guys: they work in a garage, they smoke hookahs... and they’re so committed to their country, they’re prepared to die for it.

This absorbing drama follows them in the hours leading up to a planned suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, making their everyday actions strangely poignant. There are effective moments of dark humour — during the filming of their martyr videos, their recruiter happily munches on a sandwich as they passionately declare their wish to die for freedom.

These are accompanied by less successful attempts at romance — Saïd’s love interest feels like a self-conscious spokesperson for less extreme methods of protest — but the drama is handled with sparse, soundtrack-free sensitivity, and there’s much to provoke thought about the motivations of these self-destructive terrorists.

To say it's a delicate subject would be almost insultingly understating the case, and although it doesn't all work, Abu-Assad handles the story with appropriate care, giving the audience plenty to mull over.