Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Infidel

Film: The Infidel [england, 2010]
Where I saw it: home/streamer
Who with: Loner style
Rating: **

Last year one of my favorite films was the scathing black comedy Four Lions. It's an English film from director Christopher Morris and it was a relentless slice of subversive comedy based around a small group of bumbling jihadists who want to strike a blow against the oppressors. You know, blow up stuff and kill people. Four Lions is a brave film in this day and age. I don't know why in the world I thought The Infidel would be the same kind of edgy film [the poster is awful by the way], but I got sucked in by the plot: Muslim finds out he's adopted and horror of all horrors--he's Jewish! His family, friends, fellow Muslims and himself are all horrified at the turn of events and the film follows the struggle to come to acceptance of his strange Muslim/Jewish identity.

The Infidel tackles its subject matter with the lowest common denominator styled broad comedy. It's just not funny. It sticks in every stripe of religious stereotype about these two groups. If you want cardboard cutouts and characters with little depth, The Infidel has you covered. The lead character is played by Omid Djalili [who is also a popular stand-up comic] and I've never seen him in anything, but his performance [and the film in general] reminded me of something the low-bar setting Kevin James might attempt. James has perfected the comedy stylings where everything is exaggerated and everyone is trying so hard that it saps the film of life, laughs and charm. Or, that might be reading too much into it. Maybe it's just not funny and that is why it is a failure? That's probably it.


Eva said...

Oh dear, that sounds quite awful. Might have a look at it later on DVD, though, just to see how the topic is treated. Although, sometimes I think I should just hold off on that - the topic can get me worked up. Don't know if I ever said, but I did both Arabic and Hebrew (and at some point believe wrote a small thesis in how Muslim Arabs and Jewish Israelis are presented in each other's short stories, why did I do that, why??).

anyway - if you really think about that horror at each other's identity is so recent really. God, there is almost never a good movie about it all! They're either fluff, or not extreme enough...

If you ever want to read some beautiful and meaningful words, and are into poetry (I am normally really not, too lazy or too worldly?, but I love this one) you can read Mahmoud Darwish's poetry - especially "Unfortunately it was Paradise" or "The Adam of two Edens". I love the many analogies in his poetry about Eden, and about Andalusia, that golden age of Muslim-Jewish collaboration. Without it being fluff in the end. Or not extreme enough.

Joshua Blevins Peck said...

Maybe I'm being too hard on this one as after I wrote my short post, I checked it out on IMDB and it has a decent rating. Not that that is scientific as I see stuff all the time that is fairly crappy and still gets a good rating on there. Just reminded me so much of a Kevin James vehicle and I think he's the WORST! He's probably checking into remake possibilities as I write this.

Unfortunately, I just can' bring myself to read much poetry these days! Had a burst of reading in teens and into early 20s, but those days are long gone.

Let me know if you agree this is a ridiculous film if you see it.