Paradise Now

Netherlands-based filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad has done entertaining (Rana’s Wedding) as well as interesting (Ford Transit) work, focusing on the traversing of checkpoints and loyalties by Palestinians and Israelis. So I was disappointed by this 2005 ‘Scope thriller, a watchable but not very illuminating account of two young Palestinians as they prepare to execute a suicide bombing on the West Bank. Abu-Assad tries to penetrate the mind-set of these characters, best friends since childhood, yet the results are muddled. Like the recent and more modest The War Within, this wants to be both thoughtful and suspenseful, impulses that here wind up at cross-purposes. In Arabic with subtitles. PG-13, 90 min. (JR)

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