Director Ziad Doueiri challenges viewers to choose sides between two, decent, hardworking individuals: “Tony Hanna” (Adel Karam) a Lebanese Christian, garage owner and Yassar Salameh (Kamel El Basha) a displaced Palestinian, foreman of a construction crew; a smashed drain pipe is the vehicle that escalates into a lesson which stems from the 1975-1990 Lebanese Civil War. Here, tempestuously, ideologies collide, tempers shred dignities, resulting in a courtroom drama where a father/daughter defend opposing sides; the grey area determines the outcome.
Tony and Yassar are more alike than disparate, they are good providers, devoted husbands but both allow religious and political prejudice to fracture their integrity, stymie logic, eventually poisoning and inciting Beirut’s populace. Doueiri softens the male intransigence with female rationale; their wives see beyond the pettiness of the dispute, knowing that apologies could alleviate, dissipate what should never have occurred; stubbornness prevails leading to an energetic expose on the roots of hatred; roots, instead of diminishing with time have become more lethally entwined, ingrained in their memories.
“The Insult” resonates with universal truth; paralyzed, incapable of shattering the confines of prejudice, audiences, squeamishly recognize their own biases, ineptitudes. Legitimizing Ziad Doueiri’s mission.
FOUR & 1/2 STARS!!!!