On Paradise Now

Paradise Now tells the story of 2 young Palestinian men, treatment stuff Said and Khaled, patient from Nablus. Their lives and their town is riddled with poverty, for sale unemployment, road closures and curfews, making their lives unbearable. Almost from the start the 2 young men are informed their time has come to carry out a bombing operation in Tel Aviv in retaliation for an assassination.

The movie basically chronicles what may be the last 48 hours of their lives before they are to enter paradise as martyrs and leave their mark on their hopeless town as heroes. Enter, Suha, a young woman who has just moved to Nablus after being raised abroad for years. She plays a mild love interest for Saidâ??s character but more importantly she represents the moderate view of peaceful resistance. What is interesting about her view is that her character has also suffered a loss: her martyred father who is legendary in Nablus.

I would rather not dive into the rights and wrongs and lessons of morality throughout the story as it would mean unraveling and analyzing the characters further to the point where it would erode the impact of the story, and I wouldnâ??t want to strip you from that.

There is nothing I can say about this film except that itâ??s one of the best movies I have ever seen. Itâ??s one of those movies where everything blends in beautifully, from directing to acting to story; all of it comes together brilliantly. Dutch-Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad proves himself as a very talented filmmaker. You find yourself very much involved with the lives of these bombers and where they will go in the story as the movie manages to never give the plot twists away and when they emerge it presents them very casually, there is no background music build up.

These characters are rarely religious, what the movie shows is a more realistic view of the bombers in the sense that they are 2 young men who are sick of their lives and blame it on the occupation. They see no other way of resistance than the use of their bodies. They are plagued by tragic history and their surroundings are signs of a tragic future. They work terrible jobs under terrible conditions, but the movie shows how normal their lives are when they enjoy some argeelah (hooka) and some coffee on a hilltop in Nablus as an explosion is heard in the distance, and then spend what could be their final hours with their families.

Suha on the other hand embodies a different spirit which is quite interesting. At one point in the movie Said reminds her how her views are different because their backgrounds are different, pointing out that she lives in the â??wealthierâ? part of Nablus, which in reality is not all together that â??richâ??.

I highly recommend this film and it has quickly become one of my all time favorite movies.

Bottom Line: 5/5 (if not more)


  • I was watching for that review of yours… Thanks nasnas. I was very disappointed to have missed the last showing in Chicago … The DVD release is set for January as I was told … Those who watched it said, after watching it you will never look at suicide bombers the same… and just like you, it has become one of their favorite all time movies … nice review nasnas … I am very much looking forward to watching it.

  • iman, you should definitly check it out. I have been planning to go for weeks as it was quickly dissapearing from the theaters here and today in all of Toronto I was left with one cinima downtown where the independent artsy flicks tend to play. So I got lucky. I actually considered (due to laziness and the cold) to wait till it comes out on dvd but after watching it I would drive to the next city to watch it.

  • Your review is well written and makes me eager to watch this one. But how sad, this is not fictional. It may be a real story for thousands of lives.

  • Oh my God, I’m dying to watch this movie. I prepared a post about it few months ago before it was showing, but I said: let’s just wait and see, this way the post will be richer. And it still didn’t reach here 🙁

    Anyway, you did a great job teasing me 😉

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