The War Within

Rated NR 2005

One of the strongest, most controversial releases of the year, The War Within goes places other films wouldn't dare go. Convincingly acted and with an understated, well-structured screenplay, it follows an Islamic suicide bomber who, radicalized by false imprisonment and torture, comes to New York City with a deadly plan. Keeping his mission secret, Hassan (Ayad Akhtar, who also co-wrote the script) stays at the home of his childhood friend Sayeed (Firdous Bamji), a secular Muslim who, with his wife and children, clearly loves his adopted country. The three-pronged attack has to be postponed when some of the terrorists are arrested. But Hassan, who feels increasingly conflicted by what he's about to do, does not want to wait. The script generates believable tension and suspense while avoiding melodrama. The viewer does not know which way the story will go, although some sort of collateral damage must be expected, no matter what the ending. The story comes full circle, as injustices of the past claim new victims.

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