Love in a time of terror.

The Attack is like the planet in Star Wars that has two suns. One sun appears 20 or so minutes into the film, the second 10 minutes before the film's end. Both suns are composed of urban sequences. The first begins with a Tel Aviv tower bathed in morning light; we then see trees, streetlights, the slick face of another corporate tower, utility poles, and the fall and rise of power lines. We see all of this from the windows of a police car that's transporting an Arab doctor, Amin Jaafari (Ali Suliman), to his posh apartment, which is being searched for evidence. We see the doctor's face, and it tells us only one thing: He can't believe his stable and safe world has been turned upside down so suddenly and permanently. The night before, he was receiving an award for excellence in his profession; this morning, his beautiful, educated, and wealthy wife, Siham Jaafari (Reymonde Amsellem), is suspected of being the suicide bomber who murdered innocent women and children in a Tel Aviv restaurant. On the passenger side of the front seat is a badass and beefy Israel Security agent. He has a bald head. The sunlight is on his grim face. His eyes tell us only one thing: He is going to get to the bottom of this crime, no matter what it takes.

The second sun begins with Nablus, a West Bank city that's in a narrow valley between two mountains. (According to Wikipedia, Nablus is located 26 miles east of Tel Aviv.) The Arab doctor is walking on the mountainside just after meeting with a spiritual leader who may or may not have persuaded Siham to commit the crime—the spiritual leader says he had nothing to do with it, but nevertheless he is proud of Siham and, like most of the citizens of Nablus, sees her as a martyr. As the doctor walks, the morning light grows on the awakening streets, homes, markets, and office buildings of the dry city. The doctor stops, gets lost in his thoughts, and then sees a truck parked on a dirt road. Inside the truck sits the man (the doctor's nephew) who will provide him with the answers he is looking for; finally, he will know why his wife committed mass murder, and why she never told him that she was a member of a terrorist cell.

Director Ziad Doueiri, who is Lebanese, worked as a camera assistant on several of Quentin Tarantino's early films, and is famous for shooting one of the most erotic (handjob) vélomoteur (motorized bicycle) scenes in the history of French cinema (Lila Says). The Attack is moody and beautiful, has a gorgeous Hollywood-ish score, and, in terms of the story, makes no effort to find easy answers to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The only thing that everyone can agree on is that the doctor's heart has been broken. And so Palestinian terrorism, Israeli militarism, the economic hardships of the Arabs, the global capitalist splendor of Tel Aviv, the liberal agenda to find common ground, the conservative agenda to escalate force—not one of these concerns or political/economic spaces is expanded into the film's dominant message. Each is suspended in the gloomy sea of the doctor's heartbreak. recommended