Full disclosure – Schnable once called me an asshole in front of a crowd of about 1200 people at the Uptown. Now, I haven’t held that against him ’till now, he’s a provocative and often compelling filmmaker, known for his brazen style and strong artistic sense.
Which is all the more surprising that he has crafted one of the most fatuous, pedestrian works about Palestinian life. While delving into the whole freedom fighter vs. terrorist thing could have been intriguing, particularly from a filmmaker not quiet about his Jewish background, we instead get a sordid Hallmark card of a film. Inexcusably, he has drained all nuance out of the narrative, any sense of shade that would make this more than a mere polemic. The story is as manipulative and clumsily told as a movie of the week, the fact that this is a wasted opportunity to bring some real insight into such a tale all the more disappointing. Plus, it’s not particularly well shot or composed, there’s none of the sense of artistry that is exhibited in his previous works. The performances stumble through stilted dialogue, and the whole thing plays with such a patently obvious trajectory that even the silly love story feels more plausible than the surroundings.
Schnable has misstepped in a major way, ridding himself of his daring in favour of something that’s miserably safe and pedantic. It all becomes tiresome in the end, a shame that an opportunity for a nuanced, probing film with an eye to the history of that region is lost for this piece of boring, politically retarded fluff.