Yachine is 10, living with his family in the slums of Casablanca. His mother leads them as best as she can. His father suffers from depression, one of his brothers is in the army, and another is a local boss. Their stories lead towards the deadliest act of terror in Morocco’s history.
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Brilliant depiction of recruitment of young terrorists as well as the dead-end milieu that makes belonging to a rigid ideological group appealing to them. The two sets of boys - as kids and late adolescents - give outstanding performances. The direction is masterful. Absolutely superb.
This is an engaging film; I don't remember these bombings happening. I was disturbed by the sexual violence directed toward Nabil in the film, but Ayouch touched on the forces that could cause such a thing to happen in an interview linked in bennievermeer's excellent review.
City of God, if it were set in a radicalizing North Africa. Beautiful filmmaking: Stunning images; taut pacing; compelling performances. As drama, almost perfect. As socio-political message? A bit trite, w/ the 'bad guys' especially reduced to convenient stereotypes (the equivalent of portraying rapists as leering creeps in trenchcoats). Given prevailing ignorance, still admirably nuanced. Anyway, a great watch. 3.5
brilliant portrayal of the young men's lives leading up to this act. about so much more than just what led them into terrorism. outstanding performances from lead actors, and all the actors in fact. beautiful attention to detail to give depth to the characters and their world.
"Traces the origins of an infamous attack few Westerners even know about, because it didn’t happen in London or Madrid or New York but in the heart of Casablanca, perhaps the most tolerant and cosmopolitan city in the Arab world." - Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com. A fine piece of filmmaking.
3.5 - Quite excellent filmmaking, and a moving film. We lost all sense of character somewhere along the way, however, and I would have liked a better sense of the charismatic influence of the religious leaders. But otherwise a powerful examination of how poverty and marginalization open a space for extremism to take hold.
Brilliant is the director that can make me sympathize with "a terrorist" but not "the terrorism." You could easily parallel this story with vulnerable youngsters recruited into gangs or religious cults in the West. Lack of economic opportunity, lack of education, and lack of fathers. Sound familiar?