‘The Attack,’ reviewed by Marshall Fine


No one, it is said, knows what goes on in someone else’s marriage. Even more to the point, no one can know what’s going on in another person’s head.

Those notions are among many at the crux of Ziad Doueiri’s haunting, provocative “The Attack,” based on the novel by Yasmina Khadra, opening in limited release Friday (6/21/13). The husband at the center of the story thinks he knows everything about his wife – until he realizes he knows almost nothing.

This gripping tale makes political questions personal, taking a sprawling divide between cultures and showing it through the eyes of one unfortunate man. He’s a doctor – a healer – who learns there is no healing a rift as jagged and provocative as the one this film portrays.

His realization about his wife comes about midway through the film. Until that point, Dr. Amin Jaafari (Ali Suliman) believes that he’s got just about the perfect life. First seen collecting an award as the top surgeon in Israel – the first time the award has gone to an Arab – he has a gorgeous home, a thriving career and a beautiful wife, Siham (Reymond Amsalem).

But the day after he receives the award, he’s on duty when the hospital emergency room is flooded with victims, people who have been wounded or killed in a suicide-bomb attack in a Tel Aviv restaurant.  It is only hours later, after he has saved who he can and gone home to an empty house, that he gets the real news.

This review continues on my website.

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