The 2006 reopening of Baghdad’s central train station, teeming with representatives from all walks of life (including the US military and other security forces) is the beguiling setting for Mohamed Al-Daradji’s precisely handled slow-burn thriller about a female would-be suicide bomber.
When first we encounter the steely Sara (Zahraa Ghandour, chillingly effective), she is wrapped in explosives and passing for pregnant among the station’s crowds. Accosted by huckster Salam, who only sees a pretty girl to hit on, she reveals what’s beneath her coat and takes him hostage. Will he persuade her to forego her plans?
Al-Daradji ratchets up the tension by weaving the various dramas of the waiting passengers into the main story, building suspense with expert control and slowly revealing Sara’s motives for wanting to take such extreme action. The director’s humanist point of view—knee-jerk judgments are nowhere to be found—makes The Journey a rarity: an intelligent thriller with a soul.
|Original Language Title:||Al Rahal|
|Running Time:||82 minutes|
|Premier Status:||US Premiere|
|Language:||Arabic and English|
|Producers:||Isabelle Stead, Mohamed Jabarah Al-daradji, Hélène Cases|
|Principal Cast:||Zahraa Ghandour, Ameer Ali Jabarah|
|Editor:||Mohamed Jabarah Al-daradji, Pascale Chavance, Herve De Luz|
|Music:||Mike Kourtzer, Fabien Kourtzer|
|Screenwriter:||Isabelle Stead, Mohamed Jabarah Al-daradji|