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"The Attack": A Suicide Bombing Inspires a Trip to the Underworld 

Wednesday, Aug 7 2013
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The story of Orpheus' descent into the underworld is one of the heartier Greek myths, having been repurposed as the Bible's story of Lot in Sodom, as well as more directly on film in Marcel Camus' Black Orpheus. Director Ziad Doueiri's The Attack is a worthy addition to the canon. This Orpheus figure is Amin (Ali Suliman), an Israeli Palestinian who has found comfort and renown as a surgeon in Tel Aviv. When his wife, Sihem (Reymond Amsalem), is killed in a suicide bombing — and subsequently proven to be the bomber — Amin journeys into the underworld of the West Bank city of Nablus to find out how Sihem could have become radicalized without him knowing. Also reminiscent of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, especially in its portrayal of how quickly a host country can grow distrustful of those who've made an honest effort to assimilate, The Attack is an examination of how a broken system compels good people to do very bad things, sometimes just to preserve something resembling dignity. Told almost entirely from Amin's point of view, Suliman's performance is up to the task, an alternately riveting and heartbreaking portrait of man discovering that maybe — just maybe — the underworld got that way because the world above keeps stepping on it.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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