Ali Suliman

The Attack

When I spoke recently with Ziad Doueiri, writer and director of The Attack, I couldn’t help but ask him a bit about his biography, which is now inextricably tied with his film’s content. The Lebanese director’s latest film was just banned by the Arab League, prohibiting anyone in its 22 member nations from screening it without risking arrest. Doueiri, who cut his teeth as a regular of Quentin Tarantino’s camera crew, moved back to his native Lebanon after the events of 9/11. Now because of the ban, he can’t even hold a screening in his own home. Because his move away from the U.S. came right after the events of 9/11, it was easy to assume that it was based in part on politics: “9/11 had nothing to do with it,” he told me. “There was a girl there.” This exchange mirrors the experience of watching The Attack, which opens in New York and DC on Friday. All of the press surrounding the film, as well as the opening scenes, prepare you for a deeply political film, but in the end it has more in common with Before Midnight than any heavy-handed geopolitical drama. Yet despite his efforts to make a personal film, politics – in the form of the Arab League – found a way to intervene.

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It’s a wild career Peter Berg has created for himself. The kid from Shocker and Aspen Extreme grew up to have an eclectic mix of directorial offerings. Everything from wicked, black comedies like Very Bad Things and damn solid action flicks like The Rundown. He’s even dabbled in the Summer blockbuster like Hancock and this Friday’s Battleship. I think that movie made Cole angry. Berg’s most important work of art came in the form of Friday Night Lights, arguably the best show in the past decade. You be the judge which side of that fence I fall on. Clear eyes. Full heart. Can’t Lose. But we can’t exactly run a Commentary Commentary on the full series run of that show. That would take too long, and there’s not enough Monster in the world to keep the writing juices flowing. So we’ll do one on The Kingdom, Berg’s 2007 film about an FBI investigation of a suicide bombing in Riyadh. That’s in Saudi Arabia, something you’d know if you’ve seen this film’s opening credits. Or watched The Daily Show more often. Enough about TV. On with the Commentary Commentary for The Kingdom.

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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published: 12.15.2014
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