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The Attack ****

It’s difficult to review a film after one has read the book first.

Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that I have a hard time doing so.

Know that my prejudice is that most often a book is better than a movie taken from the book. I can’t think of more than a handful of movies that I thought were equal to or better than the book.

Probably reading a book first significantly changes how one experiences the film. Not only does one know how the book presented its story and its outcome, but the viewer is also constantly comparing the two, rather than approaching the movie with an open mind.

Thus, my conundrum in discussing Ziad Doueiri’s film, The Attack.

ykattack-118x150I read the novel by Yasmina Khadra (Mohammed Moulessehoul) a year or so ago and wrote briefly and positively about it it on MillersTime (see my mini-review of the book).

An Arab-Israeli doctor (Amin) in Tel Avi has his world turned upside down when a suicide bomber turns out to be his wife.

An improbable story?


Nevertheless, with a bit of “willing suspension of disbelief,” this film has enough important aspects to make it worthy of your consideration.

First, this is the story of Amin and his struggle to understand how and why he has been betrayed by his wife and what role he might have played in that betrayal. But equally important is the portrayal of how both the Palestinians and the Israelis are locked into a vicious cycle from which they seem unable to extricate themselves.

About the former (Amin’s story), the film is involving and keeps the viewer engaged.

Equally, the film seeks to present a fair picture of both sides of the seemingly insolvable problem in this troubled land and is somewhat successful in doing so.

Much of the film is faithful to the book, but, for me, the book was much more powerful.

And I don’t think that is because I read it first (and reread it after seeing the film).

Some of the most intense, most memorable aspects of the book, including the ending, do not appear in the film.

Still, and especially if one has not read the book, the film deserves to be seen.

The book, even more so, deserves to be read.