A prominent Arabic surgeon living in Tel Aviv is shaken to his core when police tell him they believe his wife was a suicide bomber responsible for an explosion that killed and injured many people at a restaurant. Despite the massive amounts of evidence against his wife Siham (Reymonde Amsellem), Amin (Ali Suliman) is unswayed by his love and devotion, and cannot accept that the woman he’s spent the last 15 happy years with is capable of such barbarism. The film follows Amin’s personal journey to discover the truth behind the bombing while everyone around him automatically accepts Siham’s guilt.
Suliman’s performance here is really exceptional. Even though he and Reymonde Amsellem have very little time on screen together, he manages to convince the audience that he has been married to this woman for 15 years. His emotional response to her death, her presumed guilt, and the way the media covers the event are all phenomenal. On top of all that, living in a predominantly Jewish area, he must endure the racial backlash of his wife’s alleged actions. It’s interesting too that when Amin’s investigation leads him to Palestine, he discovers that Siham has become a celebrity there, with people plastering posters of her face to their walls and selling Siham key chains.
The movie is intense, nicely paced, and Suliman’s capacity to carry the emotional burden of the entire story is really impressive. I did however find the movie to be a little predictable in the beginning. Like when Amin goes home to find his wife isn’t there, I quickly assumed she was dead in the bombing. When Amin is called into the hospital at 3a.m. to identify her body, he doesn’t suspect until he gets to the hospital that it might be for his wife. An argument can be made that the character would be in denial of the possibility that anything bad could disrupt his perfect marriage, but I was hoping it would be less obvious to the audience during this sequence. Most of the rest of the film is not easy to predict. I didn’t see it coming that the police would suspect the wife as being the bomber, so that storyline works very well for me.
Special features include an interview with director Ziad Doueiri, a photo gallery, and the theatrical trailer. Available on Blu-ray and DVD from the Cohen Media Group on November 12.