Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
Canada/South Africa, 2012. IFC Films, Myriad Pictures, Alliance, Foundry Films, Out of Africa Entertainment, Téléfilm Canada, The Harold Greenberg Fund, Department of Trade and Industry of South Africa. Screenplay by Ruba Nadda. Cinematography by Luc Montpellier. Produced by Daniel Iron, Lance Samuels. Music by Geo Hohn, Jim Petrak. Production Design by Bobby Cardoso. Costume Design by Nadia Kruger. Film Editing by Teresa Hannigan. Toronto International Film Festival 2012.
Alexander Siddig lives a comfortable existence in Toronto, years after having fled Syria under mysteriously dark circumstances that come back to haunt him when he finds out that his daughter has gone missing. She was supposed to be touring Europe when an unplanned visit to Damascus, where she was presumably going to find out more about her father’s secret past, becomes her last known whereabouts. Now, despite the danger it poses to him, Siddig has to go covertly back into the country he once barely escaped with his life, reuniting with the woman he left behind (Marisa Tomei) and facing off with an old foe (Oded Fehr). Director Ruba Nadda’s foray into genre filmmaking does not show her off to the same effect that the incisive romance of Cairo Time did; like Jane Campion before her, the attempt to fit within a known mould can’t hide the desire to focus on human experience, and her ability to make characters sympathetic with the smallest effort is on fine display yet again. The depths of terror are not fully explored as Siddig’s persona remains in pretty much one mode throughout the entire experience and he has no chemistry with a surprisingly colourless Tomei, but the film has its merits, mostly in the gorgeous imagery and a diverting plot which you will feel compelled to see through to the end.