Don’t get me wrong, you get some of that. Yet, it takes it’s time getting there, which is just fine with me. That’s because we see some acting that is just astounding — Joshua Jackson, Alexander Siddig, and Marisa Tomei with a great performance and accent to boot.
Siddig impressed me in the rather boring Cairo Time. That movie, and this…were shot beautifully. Both of them were also written and directed by Ruba Nadda. She apparently lived in Syria for some time.
In this drama, Siddig has to go there to find out why his daughter disappeared. He’s got a job we’re not so sure about in Canada. He keeps a few secrets, and has to secretly get into the country. As he goes through his old passports and IDs in his home office, we see that he was part of Syria intelligence, and appears to be rather high ranking. You’ll find out more later from a reporter, which made me wonder – if his older daughter was so curious about her dads life, perhaps a Google search would’ve shown something.
With stories in the news so recently about Americans disappearing in Middle Eastern countries – it adds a little more to the suspense.
The missing daughter is a photographer (as was the real life story of the woman that was found dead in Turkey). It’s easy to see how a young adult might not realize that taking pictures everywhere isn’t always welcome in some places.
The father finds out some things along the way about his daughter, but it’s not any crazy espionage type of stuff. Just the usual things that us American dads (or in his case, Canadian) always are surprised by that daughters do – she likes good Scotch, has a tattoo in a naughty place, and may have been seeing a married man.
There’s a scene where he has to talk to a police officer, and it’s just so perfect. It’s low-key, and both men are a bit angry that the other is going to do things their way. I enjoyed watching a great scene, without somebody slapping, punching, or screaming at the other. These are angry guys that are smart enough to also act civil.
That doesn’t mean the film is flawless. There were some problems with a few bits of logic (like why a guy posed for a picture that’s found in a restaurant). I can let that slide when I’m enjoying a movie that’s a bit different than the normal stuff – not car chases through Damascas that knock fruit stands everywhere.
Early on, I thought about Casablanca, since Tomei clearly still has feelings for this man that left her. He realizes this, but needs her help in finding his daughter. It’s interesting watching their facial expressions when they’re together.
It’s also fun watching Siddig bribe officers and negotiate his way around the various bureaucracies and secret police. This isn’t James Bond, but he’s a smart man. And he’s a worried father. It all comes across so perfectly.
This is only playing at the Reading Gaslamp downtown, and I recommend it. It’s a nice break from Bruce Willis breaking everything on screen, but with the same fun and tension you like in a thriller.
I’m giving it 3 stars out of 5.